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Customer Review

on July 6, 2013
The setting in the Sandoval Sisters is before and during the Mexican-American war of 1848, in Sante Fe, New Mexico. It's a family saga of arranged marriages, a runaway bride, secrets, witchcraft, and loyalty. The impact of family history, a changing demographic, politics, and social mores upon three sisters, Oratoria (adopted), Alma, and Pilar makes for a most interesting story.

Ancient journals are a central focus for the Sandoval sisters. These diaries hold the family genealogy, along with the family secrets, escapades, land grants, murders, and recipes that range from food, to love potions, and revenge. (Some sizzling stuff in the love potion arena).

The three sisters depend on each other during this turbulent time, imbued in the politics of war, class, and country. They grow into strong assertive women despite their father. From the beginning chapters we can see the change that comes about with Pilar and Alma.

Historical fiction has to incorporate the time period, and the author does this very well. We hear and see the wagons rumbling through the town, the Spanish landowner's huge hacienda's, slaves, racism, and the daily life of the people in the mid 1800's.

What I didn't embrace, as much as the first three quarters of the book was the subplot of Monique. The subplot took me out of the Sandoval Sisters story, a couple of times too often, although it was integral to Pilar. Monique's story would make an evocative novel all on its own.

The last chapter implies there will be a sequel to the book. (In fact, after "The End," my Kindle has a first chapter titled "First, We Were O'Reillys.") The sisters are in their early twenties to thirty years of age by the final chapter, so there is plenty of material for a series about the Sandoval Sisters.
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