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Conquistadora Audiobook, by Esmeralda Santiago Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Esmeralda Santiago Narrator: Esmeralda Santiago Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2011 ISBN: 9780307938954
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,439 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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An epic novel of love, discovery, and adventure by the author of the best-selling memoir When I Was Puerto Rican. As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de León. And in handsome twin brothers Ramón and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. She marries Ramón, and in 1844, just eighteen, she travels across the ocean to a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited on the island. Ana faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside even as she relishes the challenge of running Hacienda los Gemelos. But when the Civil War breaks out in the United States, Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps even her life, threatened by the very people on whose backs her wealth has been built: the hacienda’s slaves, whose richly drawn stories unfold alongside her own. And when at last Ana falls for a man who may be her destiny—a once-forbidden love—she will sacrifice nearly everything to keep hold of the land that has become her true home. This is a sensual, riveting tale, set in a place where human passions and cruelties collide: thrilling history that has never before been brought so vividly and unforgettably to life. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Santiago’s storytelling is thrilling…Conquistadora is a triumph.”

    Washington Post

  • “A splendid expedition into colonial history complete with enrapturing suspense to the very end.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Ana [is] an unconventional, ambitious woman whose attitudes toward children, slaves, and lovers perplex and engross…A guided tour of the history of sugar and empire.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An author in full command…In Santiago’s hands, Ana is a woman to remember and Puerto Rico a country to cherish.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Lusty, ambitious women are staples of epic fiction, and [here] Santiago has created a ferociously seductive character…Read this absorbing, impeccably researched novel for its lush history and for the way Santiago’s narrative constantly surprises—just as its protagonist does, confronting the gender limitations of her day.”


  • “If, as the proverb goes, history is written by the hunters, then Esmeralda Santiago has imagined history as written from the point of view of the lions. A remarkable story for its detail, imagination, meticulous research, and wisdom, this is history written by a lion at the height of her powers.”

    Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

  • Conquistadora is a wonderful and richly drawn novel…A grand achievement from one of our finest writers.”

    Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and Beautiful Maria of My Soul

  • “Part romance, part portrait of a woman struggling against the constraints of her time and class. Santiago’s writing often surprises with its sly humor.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Extraordinary…An outstanding story, full of pathos, tropical sensuality, and violence—but it also poses uncomfortable moral questions readers are forced to consider…Storytelling genius…Conquistadora is a book-group must.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Ana will inevitably bring to mind thoughts of that other imperious plantation dweller, Scarlett O’Hara…Conquistadora can be enjoyed as a grand romantic adventure tale, complete with plenty of sex and violence. But author Esmerelda Santiago…doesn’t ignore the political and economic realities of Ana’s life.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • “Readers may not sympathize with Ana…but her unflinching devotion to her dream of living with the valor and beauty of her conqueror ancestors is compelling.”


  • “Santiago brings passion, color, and historical detail to this Puerto Rican Gone with the Wind, featuring a hard-as-nails heroine more devoted to her plantation than to any of the men in her life…The richness of [Santiago’s] imagination and the lushness of her language will serve saga enthusiasts well.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The multitalented author of When I Was Puerto Rican offers a big, bold novel about life on a Caribbean sugar plantation in the mid-nineteenth century…With drama, adventure, and even a bit of magical realism, Conquistadora may remind readers of Isabel Allende’s novels of Latin America.”

    Library Journal

  • A 2011 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ally | 2/16/2014

    " Drama, adventure, history, passion, suspense & sizzling romance - all in one terrific, epic novel. I've rarely ever read a book more than once, but i'll for certain read this one again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Omy | 2/14/2014

    " I'm so glad that I finished reading this novel. It took me a couple of months to finish it since I had to interrupt it in order to study. I love every creation of Esmeralda Santiago so far. This novel is amazing, interesting, and so engaging. The best part is that it has actual history facts of Puerto Rico. I read it in Spanish and it's extremely captivating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 2/14/2014

    " started strong. interesting time period and location. flat ending "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shoshana | 2/12/2014

    " At the beginning of the book I already had a problem swallowing. Throughout the story I am hoping someone's conscious will get the better of the person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marla | 2/7/2014

    " I heard a interview with the author on Fresh Air and was intrigued by her personal story as well as this novel. The book also received very good reviews recently. My expectations were set fairly high so I was somewhat disappointed as I finished it last night. It was a good read albeit predictable. Good representation of colonial Puerto Rico but leaned a bit too much toward a "romance" novel for my taste and it ended quiet abruptly but ripe for a sequel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Courtney | 1/30/2014

    " I had high hopes for this novel! For me the sub-plots were just too random and not fleshed out enough. And there were instances involving the central characters that seemed to have no real purpose. Overall it felt choppy. Not my fav :/ "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 marsha | 1/28/2014

    " This book got great reviews, but although I wanted to know what happened to the characters, I wasn't crazy about the writing. It's a story set in 1844 about a Spanish woman who emigrates with her husband to Puerto Rico to help run a plantation. It was sad to read about the ways the plantation owners treated their slaves. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allegra | 1/20/2014

    " I was interested in the historical setting, I prefer more detail in that area. Just to the edge of bodice ripping in some parts. Transitions of rational were too quick at times. But I did enjoy the historical look into PR and the comparisons to what was going on at the same time in the US. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Morgana | 1/18/2014

    " Oh, dear. I gave this my best shot - 50 pages or so. The writing was just not good. So much telling, so little showing, such flat characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amywenger | 12/24/2013

    " I really liked the stories of the characters, and was engaged the whole time. However, the characters behavior is inconsistent. She really could have developed them further. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenna | 12/11/2013

    " Decided to admit that I was not enjoying this book and stopped reading it partway through. Felt like a poor attempt to replicate Isabel Allende or Julia Alvarez. Not for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 11/29/2013

    " I loved Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican, so I was very much looking forward to reading Conquistadora. I was somewhat disappointed. Ana is definitely no Scarlett O'Hara. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lala44 | 10/24/2013

    " An epic journey, set in Spain and Puerto Rico "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 9/4/2013

    " Waaay to much detail on some story lines and not enough on others, but it kept me interested only because I lived in puerto Rico. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorene | 7/28/2013

    " An interesting book when you consider Puerto Rico history. I kept waiting for the main character to be more remarkable. Maybe she was in her own unusual way. I rated it a 3 since the historical piece is good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 5/22/2013

    " This was a fun summer beach book, somewhat like Gone With the Wind in Puerto Rico. Some things were a little unbelievable but I like the book anyway and am looking forward to the sequel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristen | 5/21/2013

    " Rugged! By that I mean Santiago goes for gold and holds nothing back. I was immediately drawn to the story of Ana who fought everyday to be loved, respected, and make it in a man's world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lgonzal2 | 2/22/2013

    " Absolutely fantastic, Esmeralda speak to me. her description of Puerto Rico made me feel very nostalgic "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jitlapawn | 7/5/2012

    " When I heard this book was like a Puerto Rican version of Gone With the Wind I had to read it! This book has it all - adventure, tragedy and spicy love scence. I was so eager to see how it unfolded, I sailed through all 400-plus pages! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 11/10/2011

    " I enjoyed the book. Not knowing much about Puerto Rican history I found it to be interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 7/16/2011

    " I was looking forward to being transported by a big, lush historical epic, but, somehow, this one never quite achieved escape velocity. Perhaps it's partially my fault since I was on book tour and more than usually distracted. But I think not. "

About the Author

Esmeralda Santiago is the author of the memoirs When I Was Puerto Rican, Almost a Woman, which she adapted into a Peabody Award–winning film for PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre, and The Turkish Lover; the novel América’s Dream; and a children’s book, A Doll for Navidades. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and House & Garden, among other publications, and on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she lives in New York.