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Extended Audio Sample Conquistadora, by Esmeralda Santiago Click for printable size audiobook cover
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) Author: Esmeralda Santiago Narrator: Esmeralda Santiago Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Shoshana Visser | 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. "

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