Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Beautiful Maria of My Sou... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Library Sale Item.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Beautiful Maria of My Soul Hardcover – June 1, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$0.97 $0.01

Featured Titles in Fiction
$25.99 FREE Shipping. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a sequel of sorts to The Mambo King Play Songs of Love, Hijuelos examines the life of the muse of that novel as she moves from childhood to the fast lane in mid-20th century Cuba. María enchants whether she's dancing in clubs, appearing in advertisements, or walking the sweltering streets of Havana. Her story is one of fierce love, luscious sex, and otherworldly beauty, but also of heartbreak and hardness, as she carries painful memories of the death of her sister and her dear mother. The two main men in her life are Ignacio, a nefarious, strong-willed businessman who provides poor María with extravagant clothes and an apartment, and Nestor, a poor musician whom she loves passionately. Less prominent but still present is María's daughter, Teresa, and her growing up in America. Hijuelos's Havana is as much a full-fleshed character as María as it endures the rise of Castro and the mass exodus of Cubans to Miami in the 1960s. An intelligent and playful ending caps off a vivid story that should delight readers of The Mambo Kings and enthrall those new to Hijuelos's imaginative and florid voice. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Though Beautiful Maria of My Soul may not match the emotional depth of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, critics generally considered Hijuelos's new novel a success. A seasoned storyteller, Hijuelos vividly evokes the vibrant lost world of prerevolutionary Havana, the Cuban Revolution, and modern-day Miami, and he audaciously inserts himself into the narrative's contemporary scenes to bring the story full circle--a device commended by the critics. However, Maria, defined by her appearance, fails to develop into a full-fledged character, and Hijuelos's relentless reminders of her extraordinary beauty and her effect on men grow tedious. Some readers may also object to the book's robust sexuality. Despite these complaints, Beautiful Maria of My Soul is a welcome expansion on the much-loved The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, as well as a finely written novel in its own right.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323349
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,784,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph R. Furshong on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is always a pleasure to me when I learn that an author has written a second novel, utilizing a character or situation in a beloved novel. Two examples come to mind. One is Geraldine Brooks' "March" in which she expands the father's character in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women". A second example is Sebastian Barry's recent "Secret Scripture" based on a character from his lyrical earlier novel, "The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty". Now, this literary treat is provided by Oscar Hijuelos, the Cuban-American author of the Nobel prize-winning, "The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love." It was a privilege to read this novel in an Advanced Reader Copy by way of [...].

Hijuelos rewinds the "Mambo Kings" story to the beginning and tells the tale of Maria Garcia y Cifuentes, a poor girl from the campo who uses her beauty and determination to land jobs dancing in post-war Havana in the 1940s. She crosses paths with Nestor Castillo, one of the brothers who go on to become the Mambo Kings when they emigrate to the US. Their affair is tumultuous, but ultimately they part. Nestor is haunted by Maria and writes an achingly beautiful song, a bolero called "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" as an expression of his love. The song becomes famous and sets the Mambo Kings on their course to fame.

This novel is an interesting contrast to "Mambo Kings". The story line is about Maria's struggles as a young woman with no family and the way she plays her odds in order to survive. It has been some time since I read the first novel, but "Beautiful Maria" is quieter, and seems to run deeper. Both are about life choices and life's compromises and how we come to reconcile ourselves to both.
Read more ›
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is all too easy, in reading a novel, to think the characters are real and not fictional. And, doing that it is also too easy to begin to wonder what the story would look like if told through their eyes.

This mind game serves as the starting point of this beautifully written novel. It tells the story of Maria, the woman who inspired the song, Beautiful Maria of my Soul, that is such a big part of the author's first novel, The Mambo KIngs Play Songs of Love. And, although it's been 20 years since I read that book, the memory of it echoes beautifully through this novel.

Essentially a character portrait of Maria, the book begins when she is 17 on her way to Havana from her village in the countryside. You learn about Maria's struggle to find work in the city, about her family life, and about how she begins to improve herself. First by becoming a dancer in a nightclub, then by hooking up with a minor gangster. And you learn about her meeting and her romance with Nestor Castillo, from The Mambo Kings. This meeting, and their romance, plays a central role in the lives of both people, eventually leading to the song. Some of the story was told in the first book, but so much more of Maria's own story is told here.

It seems to me to be a story of 20th Century Cuba. Poor, illiterate, ignorant, Maria is from the country, a world without any of the modern conveniences that wasn't different from the world of her grandparents. By moving to Havana and becoming part of the world of nightclubs and decadence that was so much a part of Cuba in the late 40's and 5t0's, she enters, as did Cuba, the modern world with a bang. Abandoned by the Castro revolution, she leaves Cuba, her gangster lover imprisoned, virtually penniless, for Miami, and makes her home there.
Read more ›
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maria was beautiful, but enough is enough. It certainly was overdone, and I skipped lots of paragraphs which became the same theme- she was so beautiful she had kids, men, old and young, following her- on and on. Even the animals on the road stopped in awe of her beauty ----just kidding. But it was almost that bad. I skipped three pages at one point because it was all about her beauty. It got old. If all the references to her beauty had been left out this would have been a better, and much shorter, book. The story was pretty good, good enough that I am going to read "Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love." But all the references to Maria's beauty slowed this story down almost to a crawl.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hadn't read "Mambo Kings" for a long time, so I read it first before going on to "Beautiful Maria", reading them back to back. The two books interweave beautifully together and Hijuelos writes characters so real that you are certain that they live down the street - even if you're not from New York or Miami, and not Cuban. And, just as I think the book is going to slowly fade away, the plot takes a nice turn in "Beautiful Maria" by referencing the earlier novel and pulling all the characters from both books into one narrative arc.

The world that Hijuelos invents is so fully realized that you can picture the locations -- in Cuba, New York, Miami -- as though you were remembering some aspect of your own life. Along with the lyrical writing, in a latin magical realistic style, Hijuelos has expanded his character's lives in such a way that I find myself wondering "what if" and inventing other scenarios for the characters.

These two books transport the reader in the way that is the best of fiction, creating an entirely believable, realistic world that we are allowed to share with the people in the books.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Beautiful Maria of My Soul
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Beautiful Maria of My Soul