One family, four sisters, and a mystery that might unravel them all.
When Malena’s tidy, carefully planned world collapses with her father’s mysterious suicide, she finds a letter, signed with an “A,” which reveals that her mother is very much alive in San Isidro—a quaint town tucked in the Andes Mountains. Intent on meeting her, Malena arrives at Alameda Street and meets four unconventional women who couldn’t be more different from one another, but who share one thing in common: all of their names begin with an A.
To avoid a scandal, Malena assumes another woman’s identity and enters their home to discover the truth. Could her mother be Amanda, the iconoclastic widow who opens the first tango nightclub in a conservative town? Ana, the ideal housewife with a less-than-ideal past? Abigail, the sickly sister in love with a forbidden man? Or Alejandra, the artistic introvert scarred by her cousin’s murder? But living a lie will bring Malena additional problems, such as falling for the wrong man and loving a family she may lose when they learn of her deceit. Worse, her arrival threatens to expose long-buried secrets and a truth that may wreck her life forever.
Set in 1960s Ecuador, The Sisters of Alameda Street is a sweeping story of how one woman’s search for the truth of her identity forces a family to confront their own past.
Papá had been many things: forgetful, cryptic, melancholic. But never duplicitous. Malena had always overlooked his flaws—they seemed so minor then—but this was not something you could just ignore. She sat on the bed, light-headed. Her hands had turned clammy and cold. She couldn’t believe that her father, the mathematical genius respected by all who knew him, had lied to her all her life.
The letter was curled around the edges and faded to a vanilla white. The professional letterhead made it seem like a business correspondence and so did the fact that it was typed, but its content made it personal. Judging by the stains on the sides, someone with dirty hands had once held it. Who knew how many people had read it before her or how many times, but this was the first time she’d laid eyes on it.
Alameda Street #345
San Isidro, Ecuador
November 20, 1947
Dear Doña Eva,
Please forgive me for writing. I know I promised I would never contact you or Malena, but I’ve now realized the huge mistake I’ve made. Giving my daughter away was a deplorable, unforgivable thing, but it was my only option at the time. Please don’t think I want to take the girl from you. You are the only mother she’s ever known and pulling her from your side would be cruel. Besides, I could never give her what she needs. All I ask is that you let me see her one more time. She doesn’t have to know anything. I won’t even speak to her. I just need to see her one last time to keep my sanity, to know that she exists. We could meet anywhere you’d like. Please let me know if this is possible and if so, set a place and a time, and I’ll be there.
With warm regards and utmost respect,
What in the name of everything holy was this? Her mother had died in childbirth! At least that was what both her father and her grandmother had said. And as far as she knew, dead people didn’t go around writing letters! Could she still be alive now, fifteen years after this letter had been written to La Abuela Eva? Had her grandmother agreed to the request? Malena had no memory of her mother whatsoever, but she must have been five years old when this encounter took place, if it ever did. Would it have been too much to ask to include a photograph with the letter? Then again, her father had buried this correspondence in the depths of his trunk. Clearly, he hadn’t meant for Malena to find it.
A metallic taste filled her mouth. First his suicide, now this.
She sifted through mountains of paper in the trunk in search of her birth certificate. Her mother might still be alive and only a few hours away. Her mother, alive? Malena couldn’t grasp this concept, no matter how many times she repeated it.
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About the Author
Other work has won in both regional and national competitions, including the SW Writers International Contest and an honorary mention at the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition. In non-fiction, her interviews with Latin legends Ricky Martin and Miguel Bosé have been featured in What’s Up weekly/El Paso, Inc. She’s also the coordinator of the University of New Mexico’s Writers Conference held each spring in Albuquerque, NM.
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