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In the Time of the Butterflies

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  33,971 ratings  ·  2,476 reviews
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 th ...more
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Perfection Learning (first published 1994)
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Coolcurry Not at all. The butterflies refer to the Mirabel sisters.
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The first time I traveled through Mexico, I found this book... and read it in three days. Towards the end of the story, before the impending tragedy strikes, the oldest (and easily the bravest) sister is remembering a moment from her youth... she and her sisters are playing this game, in the dark, behind their parents' farm house: the idea was to walk off the porch, into the pitch black of the night, and to go as far as they could before turning back. What she remembers, is how everyone always t ...more
I'm not an Alvarez fan, but I enjoyed getting a fictionalized glimpse into a part of Dominican Republican history. Once again, I was so frustrated by history. This story is the same story in so many countries. But, I was encouraged in Alvarez's afterword when she commented that she gave herself room to fictionalize the characters because the Maribel sisters have become so mythic that they are almost superhuman, but through her book, we can see that any one of us can be as courageous as Patria, D ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Darn good story with strong Latina characters. A must read for all Hispanic ladies. Until I picked this up, I didn't realize that the Dominican Republic had such a turbulent past. Thus, the book has been educational as well as entertaining.

In the sixties there was rebellion. Revolutionists wanted Trujillo, a dictator, out of the way. This book follows four sisters. Patria is the oldest and appears to be your average stay at home wife and mother who occasionally struggles with her deep Catholic f
Fictional account of the sad and true story of four sisters in the Mirabal family, three of whom were murdered in November 1960 in the Dominican Republic for working against Trujillo, the dictator in power at the time. A decent read overall and I thought it started out well, but got bogged down in the middle for me, with too many characters and shifting time periods between the chapters that I thought made it difficult to follow the story and keep track of the different sisters, let alone all th ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Aug 12, 2008 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanette by: Book Lust, by Nancy Pearl
This is a fictionalized account of the lives of the four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. They grew up in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo ruled brutally for thirty-one years, merciless and drunk on power. It disgusts me how these vain, arrogant little men like Hitler and Trujillo can wield so much power and do so much damage.

The book alternates among the "voices" of the four sisters. The first part of the book tells about their
Mrs. Reed
I'm on a Julia Alvarez kick. So far, I've just read this and iYo!, but based on these two, she's one of the most imaginative, creative authors I've ever encountered. This is historical fiction in a new sense. She took the stories of famous Dominican revolutionaries and fictionalized pretty much their entire lives. The main parts, of course, are true. Reading it, I was always questioning what was "real" and what was an Alvarezation. When I finished it, I had a little cry (right there on the train ...more
I read this in Spanish because I thought it was originally written in Spanish, being written by a Dominican author and set in the Dominican Republic. But no; it was written in English and I just got some extra reading practice.

This is a non-fiction-told-as-fiction, the dramatization of real events. It is the story of the real-life Mirabal sisters, who were members of the underground resistance to the Dominican dictator Trujillo. The story is told over many years in separate chapters from the po
I have completed the book. I am not as enthralled as when I began it. Why? What went wrong? I am only going to give the book three stars.

I am not going to give another synopsis of the book. If that is what you are looking for please see the book description above. I have learned how it might have been to live in the Dominican Republic during the latter half of the 20th Century, mostly under Dictator Trujillo!s reign. The four Mirabel sisters fight against him have today reached mythic proportion
Apr 16, 2009 Lorena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeremy, Logan
Recommended to Lorena by: Jill
This was an excellent read, I knew very little about Trujillo's Dictatorship of horrors and that dark part of the Dominican Republic's history. I know this is Historical Fiction, but I have truly enjoyed getting to know Las Mariposas, it makes me feel so bad though about the inaction I have been living on. There are so many people out there that give it all for the wellbeing of the community, even their lives while I just live my confortable little existence and do nothing for others, made me fe ...more

I was bored and disappointed by this. The initial chapters, covering the childhood and schooldays of the Mirabal sisters, seemed promising enough. And I have no complaints about the final scenes, where the tension was certainly screwed up very tight.

But in the middle was a wasteland of mundane domesticity, which Alvarez doesn’t know how to render interesting even when it’s spiced up with low-key revolutionary activity. As for the latter, I could never quite work out what the active members of th
Lisa Vegan
I can’t rate this book with 5 stars because its fiction/non-fiction format drove me crazy. I’d rather have had a non-fiction book about the Mirabal sisters. Given that there is one surviving sister I’d hope that wasn’t an impossible feat. If it really was, however, then I’d rather this historical fiction story have had entirely fictional characters as the main characters. The pertinent real people could have taken on more minor roles in the story, and then I wouldn’t have minded their fictionali ...more
"In the Time of the Butterflies" was beautiful and sad. I loved every one of the sisters. Their sacrifice, during the Trujillo regime, made me question what I would be willing to sacrifice for freedom and it made me think about my sister. The image that made me cry and made me angry was of the sisters standing in the garden one night looking back at the lit house as their mama bustles around getting their children ready for bed. Alvarez says they look at the house with longing as if they were al ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anne & anyone liking historical fiction
Take four sisters, add the backdrop of the oppressive Trujillo regime of the Dominican Republic, include the fizz of drama and voila! introducing In the Time of the Butterflies.

Julia Alvarez portrays each sister as a unique individual. The eldest, Patria, encased in her religion; Dede the second-born plays it safe; Minerva is the catalyst; while the youngest, Mate, lives for love, together, make for an intriguing tale.

When I picked up this book I hoped I wasn't in for a depressing read. To my
Kristen Elise
What an intriguing book. A cleverly told, heartfelt insight into a period of history that many people know very little about. I felt I was living under the Trujillo regime, and I'd imagine that the experience there is similar to anyone living under any brutal dictator at any moment in time.

The only disappointment (and this isn't a spoiler) is the enormous author's note at the very end, in which the author basically states that she made the whole thing up and that in reality, she knows very, very
dianne budd
a brilliant novelized version of las tres mariposas - the name given to the 3 sisters who, despite being from a wealthy, landed family fought bravely to their deaths, against Trujillo. i found one of the loveliest insights was how they came to be political in three VERY different ways - one, a traditional mother became angry about the treatment of children and family, another fell madly in love with a freedom fighter, and a third was intrinsically an activist - righteously furious at the inequit ...more
Moving and heartfelt, fictionalised account of the lives of the Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic under the tyranical regime of the Dictator Trujillo.

Theres something about Hispanic writing and settings that I really warm too. The close knit extended families, the powerful language, Limondas on the verandah in a tropical garden. Passionate emotional characters. This had the added bonus or a true and tragic story and the sense of what it must be like to live at first relatively normal liv
Books Ring Mah Bell
In the time of the Butterflies is a historical fiction novel. Historical fiction? Hmmmm. Like most of the history books the public school gave me? Truths removed or injected with “filler” to make them sexier?

The story is about four sisters, growing up in the Dominican while Trujillo controls the country. As the sisters grow, they join the resistance against Trujillo. Three of them are killed by the regime. I had no idea about the violent reign of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic less t
Michael Jenkins
I REALLY tried to get into these book,but had a difficult time reading it. Can someone please explain to me,what in the world is this book about? It went from a pointless interview to a meaningless mini plots that was not consistent with the synopsis.

Absolutely no characterization,the characters became forgettable,the moment I tossed the page. I can't explain anything to you,I question why I read so far.

Boring,inconsistent,sloppy and forgettable.
Margaret Murray
Even though I was frightened of the subject matter of In the Time of the Butterflies--based on true and bloody events in the infamous regime of Trujillo in the mid-20th century--I was pulled into it by the narrator, the only sister of four who was spared, speaking in the present as she answers questions from a journalist who, like so many others, reveres and idolizes the sacrifices the four "Butterflies" and their family made to achieve democracy in the Dominican Republic. And when the narrator ...more
This book was an amazing historical fiction account of the Mirabal sisters - Dominican Republic revolutionaries. Not only did it capture their heroic struggles for their country, but I enjoyed the themes of sisterhood and friendship. Viva la butterflies! Long live sisters everywhere!
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book at all. I needn't have worried. It was a well-crafted and heart wrenching story. Immediately, I was pulled into the story and felt I got to know each of the sisters both as individuals and as part of the collective that opposed Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship.

They were called Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.” What they endured brought tears to my eyes. Such cruelty. Ultimately though the story is one of strength and courage as they worked
This was a fabulous book.

It's one of two novels(that I remember the other one) that made me cry at the end (the other being "The Mill on the Floss").

This is a fictionalized account of historical events. The author even comments in the end that it is not biography nor is it based on the mythological legend of the sisters.

Alvarez ability to build characters is something to be admired. Each of the four sisters is simply drawn yet stands out from the other three. Even the many children fail to "run
Aaron Larios
Julia Alvarez truely outdid herself with this one. It's a book filled with love, suspense and tragedy, all in one. It can really make the toughest of the toughest cry, take it from me. This was a class assignment for my Honors World Literature class. At first, I saw the book and was kind of annoyed of how big it was. As a high school student, I have other things to do and I felt like this was just too much. As you read it though, you really get into it. We follow the life of the Mirabal sisters; ...more
I found this book very interesting. I had trouble putting it down and had to be happy with just reading a chapter per day. i had previously seen the movie a year ago and felt that it was really good, but i didn't really understand certain parts of it. While reading the book, i got to understand the movie better because it included more details. One of the things that I especially liked about the book was how it was written. Each character had their own chapter, where they would talk about certai ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
In her Postscript, Alvarez wrote that she wanted the book to "immerse my readers in an epoch in the life of the Dominican Republic." I think she succeeded magnificently. She tells the story of the Trujillo era, when the small island republic was under the heel of one of the more notorious dictators of Latin America. She tells it by giving us a fictionalized account of the Mirabel sisters, known as the "Mariposas" (butterflies) who are national heroes.

If you'd have described this book to me, I'd
In the Time of the Butterflies had been on my TBR shelf for years before I picked it up and read it. It was not the book but my proclivity to buy a lot of books and maybe not read them all for years. I really enjoyed this book even given upfront you knew that three of the sisters were murdered by henchmen of Gen. Raphael Leonidas Trujillo of the Dominican Republic.

It is the voice of the surviving sister, Dede, that we learn of the history and the courage of the "Las Mariposas - The Butterflies"
McKenna Knudsen
This book is well written, though I flip-flopped through it. Some parts were page turners, and I really got into it. But some parts were boring and dry. I did enjoy how it takes turns from each sister's point of view, and how each sister has a different style of writing.

My favorite part was any time Maria Teresa was writing. She covered many interesting things, and I enjoyed her journal entries. She kept secrets from the reader, and it made me want to read more to figure out what she was hiding.
I got distracted again by life. It really needs to stop getting in the way like that. Last book that was half read on the plane and half in a jet-lagged state was In the Time of Butterflies. This poor book got a bit more love than I would like, as I'm pretty meticulous with my books, as I had a mother of a cold on the plane and sneezed, causing me to wave my hands in the air like a numpty, which then collected my G&T and doused my lap and my book in too much tonic and not enough gin. At leas ...more
Sophie Zapoli
This book touches the depths of your soul in a moving stunning way that did justice to the Mirabel sisters. The author craftily turns these amazing historical figures into 3-D people that you grow to love and care for throughout the book. Although this makes their predicted death at the end so much harder, it also makes you appreciate the symbols of hope they became to the Dominicans. I know it has been decades since they took their Jeep through the mountain pass that became the end but it still ...more
While the author was not one of the four Maribal Sisters who lived and suffered under the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, she makes a fifth sister by her total identification with these women.
One sister, Dede', who survived the roadside execution, is the principal narrator although the other women's voices are also integrated into the tale. Dede lives on as the "keeper of the flame" for Minerva, Pretia and Mate (Maria Teresa), and relates the history of how these women and their hus
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Spanish language entries in In the Time of the Butterflies 7 61 Oct 12, 2014 09:02AM  
Dominican Republic 4 40 Dec 06, 2013 08:16AM  
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Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach l
More about Julia Alvarez...
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