The Empress of the Splendid Season

The Empress of the Splendid Season

3.55 (452 ratings by Goodreads)
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In his new novel, Hijuelos tells the story of Lydia Espana, a beautiful and formerly prosperous emigre from pre-Castro Cuba, who becomes a cleaning lady in New York. Once the spoiled, pampered daughter of a small-town mayor and adored by men - a 'queen of the Conga line' - she is forced because of a youthful sexual indiscretion to leave home and, in 1947, finds herself suddenly living the life of the working poor. In time she falls in love with Raul, a humble waiter. One night in a Manhattan ballroom, in the middle of a bolero, Raul proposes marriage, for Lydia is his "empress of the most beautiful and splendid season, which is love."
A life of promise is disrupted when Raul falls ill and Lydia, finding employment as a domestic, becomes the head of the family. Striving to educate her two children, Rico and Alicia, in the style of the upper class, she must endure a lesson in humility, cleaning the homes of New Yorkers much better off than herself. Among her employers is Mr. Osprey, a reserved and kindly lawyer, who eventually takes an interest in her family's well-being and, during the turmoil of the 1960s, intervenes at a critical juncture in the life of her teenage son, Rico. Throughout this novel Lydia remains a sensual and powerful woman who meets the trials of a lonely life with humor and a gleam of triumph in her eye - a sense that she is someone special - an empress of fortitude, of dignity.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 342 pages
  • 134.62 x 198.12 x 22.86mm | 272.15g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0060175702
  • 9780060175702

Rating details

452 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 17% (75)
4 35% (159)
3 37% (165)
2 10% (46)
1 2% (7)
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