In The Time Of The Butterflies, a novel by Julia Alvarez is in a word, amazing!!!!!! Hands down the best fiction novel I've read in quite some time. The story takes place in the Dominican Republic during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship, and focuses on the lives of four sisters, three of whom become underground political activists, known as las mariposas, the butterflies. The character study is so intricate and thorough, it’s as if you could simply reach out and touch one of these women at any given moment. The scene setting and plot are equally well wrought.
From this novel, I developed a good sense of the way things were politically in the Dominican Republic during the 40's -60's, felt like the characters were family, and completely fell in love with the Mirabel sisters. I also developed an unabashed abhorrence for El Jefe, aka General Trujillo, who governed with a closed mind and an iron-fist, to put it mildly. Because I am bilingual, I enjoyed the interspersed Spanish colloquialisms. I started off reading this book at a quick pace, but slowed up a bit as I went along in order to draw things out, not wanting to overlook anything. This book is chock full of horror and heroism; this is a story not to be missed!