The Divine Husband (Hardcover) Francisco Goldman
The Divine Husband is a tale of tragedy, human comedy, and great love, of the soul of the Americas and the birth of the modern spirit. It follows Maria de las Nieves Moran through the nineteenth-century Central America of convents, ballrooms, and coffee plantations, to the stately Fifth Avenue addresses of New York. When we meet Maria de las Nieves, she is an obsessively bookish and dreamy novice nun - but this career is cut short when the country's new ruler orders the closing of the convents. What will be her fate in the rapidly changing secular world? When she takes a job at the British legation and enrolls in a writing class taught by Jose Marti, her life is transformed by the brilliant and seductive poet and hero of Cuban independence, whose year in that Central American capital results in more than one broken heart and in Latin America's most famous love poem.
Maria de las Nieves's story unfolds among an unforgettable cast of characters striving for love or success in late-nineteenth-century Central America: Paquita, her lifelong best friend and nemesis, who begins a beautiful and impetuous schoolgirl and ends up hosting one of Gilded Age New York's celebrated salons; Mack Chinchilla, the Yankee-Indio entrepreneur intent on winning Maria de las Nieves's hand; a stuffy British diplomat looking after the Queen's interest in the isthmus, and his own in our heroine; Mr. Doveton, the smooth-talking former Confederate ambassador and double agent; Don Jose, the elderly Jewish umbrella repairman who becomes her trusted confidante; and a character known only as "the Mysterious Muchacho." And when Maria de las Nieves departs on a packet boat to New York years later, young daughter in tow, she continues to evade Paquita's - and our - curiosity over who, of her many suitors, is the girl's father, and what really happened between her and Jose Marti.