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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (22,878 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Alvarez Narrator: Alma Cuervo, Melanie Martinez, Blanca Camacho, Noemi de la Puente Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9781436112260
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It is November 25, 1960, and the bodies of three beautiful, convent-educated sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. El Caribe, the official newspaper, reports their deaths as an accident. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Raphael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everyone knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.”

Now, three decades later, Julia Alvarez, also a daughter of the Dominican Republic and long haunted by these sisters, immerses us in a tangled and dangerous moment in Hispanic Caribbean history to tell their story in the only way it can truly be understood—through fiction. In this brilliantly characterized novel, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, Maria Teresa, and Dede—speak across the decades, to tell their own stories—from hair ribbons to gunrunning to prison torture—and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Wonderful…Skillfully weaves fact and fiction, building to a gut-wrenching climax.”

    Newsweek

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/11/2014

    " A really interesting and well-written account of the "Era of Trujillo" as viewed throught the eyes of the Miribal sisters in the Dominican Republic. I knew nothing of this history, but found it a nice read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine Boyer | 2/8/2014

    " This is an important book to read, and an important story to know. Alvarez does a skillful job in taking a tragic true story about 4 sisters who grew up during Trujillo's dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and weaving it into a suspenseful and moving novel. I gave it five stars because the writing was excellent, I didn't want to put it down, and I walked away with some deeper philosophical thoughts about this world of ours and my own place in it. This story is the kind that makes one consider courage, loyalty, and activism. Now I want to see the movie! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crystal | 1/29/2014

    " I had to read this book for my Women and Literature course, and it was one of the few books assigned that I actually enjoyed. The story of these sisters pulled at my heart! It is a story full of lessons and courage, that tells of a time of discord I was not privy to before reading. A great read for anyone who enjoys history! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 1/22/2014

    " A great, compelling read. You will learn a bit as it is historical fiction, and you'll want to learn more. Definitely recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbi | 1/12/2014

    " My nephew, Erik, gave me this book to read. He is a professorionalized account of the real lives and martyrdoms of the 4 Mirabal sisters in the 1950s-1960s in that nearby island nation. One sister survived, and Erik met her last year. I was a child during the political events in the story, and the DR isn't a place much noted in American history books, so I was unfamiliar with the events. It was an eye-opening story to learn about the political events there, Trujillo's dictatorship, and the brave Mirabal women who fought for freedom and sparked the overthrow of the government with their deaths. The anniversary of their assassinations, on November 25th, has now been honored as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the United Nations. The author, by recreating the women's lives in a fictional but accurate as to historical events narrative, made the story and those brave women come alive for me, and I enjoyed this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Mckernan | 12/29/2013

    " Loved this story and admired the strength of these sisters. A good quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mayra Thompson | 12/25/2013

    " Magnificent novel, extraordinary novel a must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kayla | 12/16/2013

    " I am currently loving this book, and Julia Alvarez. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 9/18/2013

    " This is a great story that I couldn't put down. Don't forget to read the authors note in the back of the book when you finish the story. Knowing how the author came to write this book made me appreciate it even more! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim Mack | 8/13/2013

    " One of my favorite books ever. I recommend it whenever I can. It's not for those looking for happy endings, but definitely for someone looking to read about lives making a difference. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie Shank | 4/17/2013

    " Good read. It was especially interesting as a former Catholic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy Hanwright | 4/2/2013

    " It's ok. I stopped reading it once because I thought it got too political. But a day later I picked it back up because I just had to see what happens. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy Pszczolkowski | 12/31/2012

    " I liked this book a lot but it was difficult for me to read because it is so sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/23/2012

    " Memorable book! Historical fiction in regards to the long dictatorship ruled Dominican Republic. Each chapter narrated by one of the four sisters. Lovely book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Milly | 8/26/2012

    " Touching story of Badass sisters! Whats not to love?! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 8/10/2012

    " Wonderful novel based on the true story of the Mirabal sisters, who were martyred in the Dominican Republic's revolution against the dictator, Trujillo. I would love to read this in Spanish. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin Starks | 5/23/2012

    " I really enjoyed reading this book. it actually made me cry at one point. I strongly reccommend that you should read this. I learned that it's worth standing up against things that aren't just or fair. "It's better to stand for something then to fall for anything..." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katee | 3/17/2012

    " Loved this book! After I went to the Dominican Republic this past summer, I was interested in learning more about the country. A good book on history, you will not be disappointed with the page-turning suspense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 2/28/2012

    " This is a well written true story. I really enjoyed reading about the girls' lives and hearing their voice, but because it is their true story, it is heavy on politics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan Bodwell | 12/14/2011

    " Absolutely amazing. Not historical fiction, but slightly fictionalized history. Julia Alvarez was more concerned with IF one of the charaters would have said or did something rather than worry about whether or not they actually DID say it or do it. Beautifully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Csantana | 9/1/2011

    " Amazing! In The Time of Butterflies is my all time favorite book! I was so enchanted by it I bought the movie and saw the play. The sisters are amazing heroes and the reflection on the Dominican Republic's history is quite accurate. 5stars! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 8/19/2011

    " My first Alvarez book - I will be trying more! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 6/30/2011

    " Enjoyed reading this book. It is set in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's. I leaned a lot about the culture and about the nation's history. The courage the women in the book have amazed me! I cannot imagine living under a dictatorship. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sharlene | 5/20/2011

    " I really kept thinking this book would pull itself together, but I just didn't get much out of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frances | 5/13/2011

    " Has a Boringg Start But then it getts interestingg towarddd the middle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney | 5/8/2011

    " Loved the second to last chapter the most! Cleverly written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 5/1/2011

    " It was original and funny and interesting and different.

    I just didn't love it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wanda | 4/10/2011

    " Has anyone read this book....I want to know a bit more of it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 4/2/2011

    " A thoughtful and enjoyable story of four sisters, uprooted from their family enclave in the Dominican Republic and transplanted to New York, trying to make sense of the world they live in. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 3/30/2011

    " Meh. Just didn't draw me in. There were some great segments and some weird segments, but I guess I was expecting something different. Interesting glimpse into life in the Dominican Republic, though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lexi | 3/24/2011

    " Even after finishing this book I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. There was really no plot. It was basically a whole bunch of short stories about the four Dominican sister's lives. The book went backwards in time from their adulthood in America to their childhood in the Dominican Republic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 3/21/2011

    " After reading another one of Alvarez's books, I was looking forward to this one. It started off promising with details of family traditions and a Latin way of life, but I soon became bored. I disliked all the shifting of storytellers. I also didn't like all the sexual stories and references. "

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About the Author
Author Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez grew up in the Dominican Republic before immigrating to the United States at the age of ten. She now lives in Vermont, where she is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Vermont.

Julia Álvarez vivió su infancia en República Dominicana hasta 1960, cuando emigró a los Estados Unidos. Luego de obtener sus títulos de pregrado y postgrado en literatura y creación literaria, enseñó poesía durante muchos años y publicó su primer libro de poemas, Homecoming, en 1984. Ha recibido becas del Fondo Nacional para las Artes y de la Fundación Ingram Merrill. De cómo las muchachas García perdieron el acento recibió el premio PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles en 1991, que se entrega a obras que presentan un punto de vista multicultural. En la actualidad, enseña literatura inglesa en Middlebury College.

About the Narrators

Alma Cuervo is a stage actress and singer, who has also performed in film and television. She holds an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, from which she graduated in 1976 alongside Meryl Streep. She starred in the role of Madame Morrible in the first national tour of Wicked. Her audiobook narrations include Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin and Francine Rivers’ The Scarlet Thread, among many others.

Melanie Martinez has toured across the country with The National Shakespeare Company and performed with many other award winning New York City theatre companies including the Jean Cocteau Repertory Company (performing with them in Sao Paulo, Brazil), Target Margin, Salt Theatre Company, and Inverse Theatre Company. In 2005, Melanie became the first host of the PBS KIDS Sprout network’s original program The Good Night Show and by mid-2006 had achieved true pop icon status. Melanie continues to work on television, appears in print campaigns, narrates audio books, and performs in the variety show, Of The Moment. Melanie lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband and son. In her spare time, Melanie is an official Wish Granter and Wish Guide for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and volunteers with the Lower East Side Girl’s Club.

Blanca Camacho was born on November 19, 1956 in New York City, New York, USA. She is known for her work on Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) and Closer (2004).

Noemi de la Puente is a New York-based actor and director. She attended the University of Iowa, and is a founding member of Dramatic Question Theatre.