Love and Ghost Letters
Author: Chantel Acevedo
On the outside, Josefina Navarro's life seems fortunate enough—she lives with her father and her nursemaid, Regla, who raises her after the death of her mother in a luxurious home in Vedado, one of Cuba's wealthiest districts. She attends society dances and is courted by all of Havana's elite young bachelors. Enchanted by the rituals of her nursemaid, Josefina learns about the profound mysticism inherent in even the most mundane affairs. Though she is pampered, Josefina feels that her life is without passion or excitement. Her father, Sergeant Antonio Navarro, a Spaniard by birth, is a stern and demanding man whose past is a tightly kept secret.
When she meets and marries Lorenzo Concepción, a poor, reckless young man, the sergeant tells her, "So, you have chosen him…and you will be hungry and miserable all your life." The couple moves to El Cotorro, a poverty-stricken town that is far removed from the Vedado plazas and carefully tended gardens Josefina knew. Lorenzo begins to leave her for months at a time, "looking for work," but in reality, womanizing and carousing all over the island. Even after the birth of two healthy children, Josefina is not happy. This is not the life she had envisioned. During a political maelstrom, history brings the sergeant to El Cotorro to quell a riot, where he is attacked and presumed dead. But perception is reality on an island in which darkness and light commingle, and magic and truth are one in the same.
When Josefina begins receiving letters from her father, she believes that what she holds are heaven's missives, ghost letters. Through the letters, Josefina comes to know her father intimately, as a ghost and guardian, as he reveals the truth about his life. In the act of writing and reading, she has found a love to fill the empty places in her heart.
Set in Cuba and Miami, covering nearly fifty years of the island's history, LOVE AND GHOST LETTERS unfolds the lives of the Navarro-Concepción families in the patterns and permutations of memory, and conjures a Cuban setting that evokes mysticism and magic.
St. Martin's Press