STARRED REVIEW
September 2019

Dominicana

By Angie Cruz
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Ana Canción is only 15 when her parents convince her to marry Juan Ruiz, a man twice her age whom she barely knows, and move with him from their home in the Dominican Republic to New York City. They hope she will be able to get a job and that she and Juan will eventually save enough to send for the rest of Ana’s family to join them.

Ana’s story, inspired by author Angie Cruz’s own mother’s experiences, is undoubtedly a familiar one. When Ana arrives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC in 1965, she quickly realizes the brutal reality of her new life. Juan is a strict disciplinarian and physically abuses Ana for breaking his many rules. She’s rarely allowed out of the sixth-floor apartment they share with Juan’s younger brother, César, so she spends her days cleaning, cooking and washing their work clothes by hand.

Ana’s dreary life greatly improves when Juan returns to the politically tumultuous Dominican Republic to ensure that the Ruiz family’s assets remain safe. With her newfound freedom, Ana begins taking English lessons at a neighborhood church, goes dancing with fun-loving César and even sees a movie at Radio City Music Hall. With César’s help, she sells her homemade Dominican delicacies outside his workplace three days a week. She saves every penny, with the ultimate goal of escape, until unexpected family developments threaten to squelch her dream.

In her third novel, Dominicana, Cruz writes with warmth, empathy and remarkable perception about the immigrant experience. Engaging and illuminating, Dominicana will appeal to readers who’ve enjoyed novels by Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez.

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Dominicana

Dominicana

By Angie Cruz
Flatiron
ISBN 9781250205933

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