On board for Clarence’s quest, I found myself transported to the 1950s, driving up a palm-lined road on the beautiful island of Fernando Po. The contrast between the snowy Pyrenees of her home and the palm trees crowding out the blazing island sun unsettles Clarence and opens her mind. How must her father have felt, working miles away from his family in a tumultuous new setting, suddenly charged with “managing” his new neighbors—by any means necessary? I was stunned to learn the backstory of this whole time period. Tension between Spanish nobles brought in to oversee the native workers in the cocoa fields incited unthinkable divides—and sparked impossible love. Because in spite of it all, people will always come together, even against the fiercest odds. For Clarence’s family, there is treasure to be found in the rubble of Spain’s failed efforts to tame this wild island: a story so passionate, so heartrending that her father had no choice but to shelter his family from it.
By delving into the difficult details of the not-so-distant past, we see the unmistakable power love has to shape history. As Clarence comes to understand what has kept her family together all these years, she finally believes that risks of the heart are well worth taking, even in her own life.
- Gabriella Page-Fort, Editor