This novel reads like a personal account; it is presented in a way that takes the reader straight into the life of the protagonist as she finds herself. There are elements of the confessional here, suggestions of reportage, instances of the documentary.
Secrets and Lies in El Salvador is written with passion, through the eyes of a naïve and courageous young American woman who learns she is related to a left wing poet from the country. Involved with the rebel cause, she is drawn into the conflict as a photographer to document the ill treatment of political prisoners. Along the way, she encounters danger, prejudice, brutality and the unthinking cruelty of ill-educated people pushed into violence by a fascist regime. But she also finds the love of family, generosity, amazing bravery, true friendship and love.
The characters acting out this drama are real people. In fact, the book is based on real incidents and the detail in the account shows this. But Sherrie Miranda has grown to know and love her characters in such a way that the reader becomes a friend as well. Character is an essential element to fiction for me and this book serves the reader well in its portrayal of this fascinating and disparate group of individuals.
There is a great story carrying the characters through the book. Not for the faint-hearted, this adventure is also a romance; this social commentary is also a lesson in the power of love; this documentary on political excess is also a window into the blindness of religion. This isn’t a tale with a single message, but a multi-layered story that will break your heart, drag you through injustice and poverty and bring you out smiling at the tenacity of humanity in the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read and recommend it to all who love good fiction with heart and soul.