Vigil: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Vigil: A Novel

by
3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  263 ratings  ·  30 reviews
When a nanny from war-torn El Salvador moves in with a wealthy American family, the result is an inspiring story about the power of love to cross cultural boundaries.

Cecilia Samartin’s most impressive work yet, Vigil is told from the perspective of Ana, a middle aged woman who is waiting at the deathbed of her husband as he loses his battle against cancer. While...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vigil, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vigil

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 441)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tara Chevrestt
Imagine loving a man for twenty years, but not being able to tell him so. Imagine sleeping in a room down the hall from this man you love for twenty years. Imagine having to watch this man interact day after day with his wife and children. Ana watches.. for twenty years before she finally has the opportunity to act on her love.

The story starts in El Salvador during the time of civil war and brutality. Ana loses her entire village and is the only one to walk away. Why was she saved? She was saved...more
Nari (The Novel World)
As her beloved lays sick and dying, Anna recounts vivid details of her life leading up to this moment. From her childhood in El Salvador, to her struggles and travels to the United States first living in a convent, then eventually becoming a nanny for a wealthy southern California family.

Although the synopsis seems really simple, the book itself is not. Cecila Samartin does a fantastic job of weaving together the past with the present of Anna’s life with key overlapping elements. She uses 1st an...more
Linda B
Vigil is an interesting and beautifully written novel. Although you may think this would be a disheartening story, it was not. Yes, there is sadness, but is also a story about happiness, friendship, and family. Each character is carefully developed with Ana as the one moral constant in the family. Eventually she is influenced by the immorality of the family members and conflict occurs.

The story was captivating as Ana reflects back on her life starting as a child in El Salvador hiding from sold...more
L
Vigil was in one word Amazing! In the first pages you will meet a woman, Ana who is sitting vigil by her dying husband's bedside. Along the way she is taken back to her impoverished beginnings in war torn El Salvador. Ana is such a memorable, inspiring character that she becomes real, and instills her story in my mind long after the end of her story. What more could a book and its author hope to be to its reader than to take a place in the heart and mind, and for him or her to take something awa...more
Margarita Gautier
Lo he terminado llorando a lágrima viva. Qué libro tan bonito!
Stephanie
Cecilia Samartin's novel chronicles the deathbed vigil a Salvadoran woman holds for her employer of 20 years. Through an excellent use of flashbacks, we learn where Ana comes from and how she ends up in her employer's household. The beauty of Vigil is found in the incredible strength and wisdom Ana finds from her own personal tragedies. Unlike 95% of contemporary fiction written today, Ana doesn't whine, blame or otherwise annoy her reader with baggage. Instead, she honors her losses by living u...more
Tiina
Feb 27, 2013 Tiina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
Simply the best book I have ever read.

Beautiful, heart-breaking, hopeful, full of love, full of life... I don't know where to start, except to tell you all to read Cecilia Samartin now. She is an amazing writer.

The beauty of Samartin's writing is that she makes you love all the character, and not in a literary wow-this-is-a-good-character-and-i-feel-sorry-for-her kind of way, but in a way you love your siblings and your friends. The characters are, simply put, real, they come alive from the pag...more
Carla Ford
Not fast paced or suspenseful, never the less I was drawn in by this story of love and innocence. This is the story of Ana, whose childhood was interrupted by violence in her village home in El Salvador. She spends the rest of her childhood into early adulthood in a convent, intending to become a nun, and is completely sheltered from the outside world. When she eventually goes to California to become a nanny, she becomes a much loved and needed member of the family she works for. As she tends he...more
Mar Martinez ripoll
Ante la enfermedad de su amado, Ana hace una revisión de su vida, desde que se enfrenta a la guerra de El Salvador, hasta que la hermana Josepha entra en su vida para darle algo de paz que la vida le esta robando. Y entonces entrara a formar parte de la familia Trellis, poniéndole en entredicho todas su preconcebidas ideas
Oda WT
I liked it, but not my favorite Samartin book. I took quite a while to get me interested, and it was quite slow paced. I felt the "plot twist" at the end was unneccesary. Also, a few of the characters bothered and annoyed me. Ana's constant selflessness started to bother me a lot, especially towards the end (the funeral). Mrs. Trellis behavior about the funeral made me want to squish her head, and I got really mad at her because of how she treated her daughter, especially around the prom. I also...more
Elina
Päähenkilö oli hieman liian epäitsekäs minun makuuni ja tarina oli imelähkö. Mutta pitänee antaa Samartinille toinenkin tilaisuus, koska häntä on kehuttu kuitenkin niin paljon.
Cheryl
This started out well with vivid but not overly detailed descriptions of the horrors of those who lived in El Salvador caught between the two factions. I remember oh-too-well many of the various events that made the news and many of them are woven into the story.

As a love story, I didn't care for it as much, partly due to the incredible sadness of the story. I deeply dislike women whose lack of morals damage their children and even though a work of fiction, it left me irritated at the end. The n...more
Lenah Caruana
I love this book, also read Tarnished Beauty and will soon read Broken Paradise. She is an amazing author for sure.
Only reason for not giving it 5 stars is beacause it reminds me too much of the movie 'Sound of Music'. The main character in the book is too similar to Maria, main character in the movie. Young, sent away from a convent against their will to work for a troubled family etc etc Even the scene when they first come to the new family with only a suitcase and hesitate to ring the door be...more
Jan
Vigil plods toward a predictable ending. What it lacks in speed and suspense it makes up for with well drawn characters and a good love story.
Ana's life in El Salvador was fascinating but too short, I'd have liked to read more about her background. She is an engaging character and you'll find yourself rooting for her. Lillian is possibly the perfect villain, evil and so easy to hate.
This is a pleasant, afternoon read.
Elisabeth
I really like the way she writes, makes it hard to put the book down. It´s interesting to me how our experiences color our lives, and helps, or makes, us become who we are. Some people are humbled, and some are hardened by what life throws at them. I like Ana and her gentle ways, and like how the characters have different aspects to them, like we all have.
Eleanor Jethro
What a great read - A story of a woman who had a very hard/scary and upsetting childhood. she then works as a Nanny for a couple with a very involved life. How her life changes over the years is very realistic. How great her faith was. I can actually see this happening in real life. I looke forward to reading more books by this author
Eva Dillner
Interesting story, but I had a hard time following the switch in "voice" from the young Ana to the one looking back. The author chose to do it by one writing in first person, the other in third. Few authors master the weaving of different time frames without confusing the reader.
Natasja
Een schitterende roman die je niet snel zult vergeten.
Zodra je aan het boek begint zit je al in een prachtig verhaal dat je niet meer los laat,het boek is één en al liefde en gaat van het verleden naar het heden wat erg goed samen komt.
Aanrader
NadaMenieir
This was a random pick for me. The book follows the protagonist through most of her life, which i quite like, and as it does, you smoothly watch her mature, and you notice the subtle changes that occur over a long period of time..
Katri
Viihdyttävää romantiikkaa. Kyllä tämän kanssa yhden flunssaisen kesäyön vietti. Kevyt kesäkirja, joka on vähän kuin pari astetta parempaa kioskikirjallisuutta. Mutta todella koukuttava ja nopeasti luettava!
Fibrelady
Even though it was fiction, I felt that the author drew the reader into to what it must have been like to live through the dark days of El Salvador. The images she creates with words, are very real.
Ida Marie Heggem
You know those beautiful stories that has everything you want? this is it! tradgedy, history, love, laughter, family, dissapointment and don't forget the cute happy ending <3
Aurélie
Lu en Français: assez déçue car on m'a offert ce livre dont on m'a dit beaucoup de bien. Mais ce n'est pas du tout ma tasse de thé: j'ai cru lire du Marc Levy!
Siri
Ja, dette er nok en godbit fra Cecilia Samartin! Hun har enda ikke klart å skuffe, selv om Drømmehjerte fortsatt er min Samartin- favoritt!!
Ann
I've read some of her other books, but this wasn't my kind of book. It was too easy and not my taste!
Christina
An amazing book! I was unable to put this book down, because I was so hooked. :-)
Karlinda Olsen
As good as Broken Paradise - just finishing it.
Mari Carmen
dentro de poco reseña en el blog
Madelaine
Great Book! I loved every part of it :)
Karsten Vestergaard
The spelling was okay.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Idas Dans
  • The Italian Matchmaker
  • Poet's Cottage
  • When Love Blooms
  • Een glas melk
  • Bly
  • En dåre fri
  • Kompani Orheim
  • A Twist of Fate
  • The Chaos King (Wall and the Wing, #2)
  • Berlin Poplars
  • Playing Dead (Blade, #1)
  • The Midnight Gate (Spellbinder #2)
  • 68 Knots
  • A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie
  • The Turning (Angel on the Square, #4)
  • Words
  • Runner
I was born in Cuba at the height of the revolution. My family left when I was nine months old so I have no memories of my own, although I "borrowed" countless memories from my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
I grew up in a quiet Los Angeles suburb and secretly dreamed of becoming a writer, but after high school I decided to study psychology instead and became a marriage and fami...more
More about Cecilia Samartin...
Broken Paradise Señor Peregrino (Peregrino, #1) Mofongo La Peregrina (Peregrino, #2) Doña Maria

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“It seemed that the years had softened her, or perhaps they'd hardened me” 2 likes
More quotes…