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3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  383 Ratings  ·  37 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 she waits,
ebook, 432 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tara Chevrestt
Sep 15, 2011 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Linda B
Oct 27, 2009 Linda B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Inma Muñoz
Jun 11, 2015 Inma Muñoz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terminados
Me ha encantado esta novela. Me ha parecido preciosa. Es muy pausada, tranquila y tierna. Pero no por ello decae el interés en ningún momento. Es el primer libro que leo de esta autora y me ha resultado todo un descubrimiento. Leeré más de ella.
Eyra CM
Jul 13, 2015 Eyra CM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sin palabras
Margarita Gautier
Lo he terminado llorando a lágrima viva. Qué libro tan bonito!
Feb 27, 2013 Tiina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 13, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anne Claire
Jan 02, 2015 Anne Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adam va mourir. Avec lui Anna perd son grand amour. Eux qui avaient mis tant d'annes se l'avouer...
Alors Anna se souvient, elle repense sa vie passe, et aux vnements qui l'ont mene l : son enfance dans un Salvador en proie la guerre civile, le massacre de sa mre et des habitants de son village par la junte, l'orphelinat, l'exil vers les tats-Unis, le couvent...
Puis cette dcision de soeur Josepha de la placer, 22 ans, chez Adam et Lillian Trevis, riches californiens. Plus que la gouvernante d
Carla Ford
Aug 19, 2009 Carla Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Caroline Hittelet
touchant et inspirant.
Citation: "on entend souvent dire que l'amour a le pouvoir de changer le monde. Si c'est vrai, alors l'amour d'une mère a le pouvoir de changer l'orbite des planètes, de la lune et des étoiles. D'après mon expérience, il n'y a rien de plus courageux, de plus constant, de plus tendre et de plus farouche que l'amour d'une mère. C'est le coeur même d'une famille, le noyau qui la nourrit au fil des générations. C'est aussi dans cet amour maternel que les enfants puisent leur g
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
Oda WT
Jul 05, 2013 Oda WT rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lenah Caruana
Sep 06, 2012 Lenah Caruana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2009 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 11, 2013 Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the way she writes, makes it hard to put the book down. Its 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. ...more
Mariani Villanueva
Muchas expectativas para un libro que fue lo más normal y predecible. Al comienzo del libro decía algo como "te va a cambiar la vida"; la verdad que es una historia normal y no me ocasionó emoción o interés. Entretiene pero no es algo que recomendaría. Soy generosa con las tres estrellas aunque me tardé tres meses en leerla.
Eleanor Jethro
Jun 08, 2010 Eleanor Jethro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Jan 17, 2013 NadaMenieir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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..
Jul 04, 2014 Katri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
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!
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.
Mar 16, 2011 Ann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've read some of her other books, but this wasn't my kind of book. It was too easy and not my taste!
Apr 15, 2014 Elina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Päähenkilö oli hieman liian epäitsekäs minun makuuni ja tarina oli imelähkö. Mutta pitänee antaa Samartinille toinenkin tilaisuus, koska häntä on kehuttu kuitenkin niin paljon.
Jan 23, 2010 Fibrelady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 12, 2016 Fanny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fin bok och berättelse. Började bra, fängslande, intressant. Blev sen lite seg och för uppenbart på slutet tyckte jag. Ändå fint språk och tyckte ändå om boken, och lilla Ana.
Mar 24, 2010 Siri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ja, dette er nok en godbit fra Cecilia Samartin! Hun har enda ikke klart å skuffe, selv om Drømmehjerte fortsatt er min Samartin- favoritt!!
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
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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
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“It seemed that the years had softened her, or perhaps they'd hardened me” 2 likes
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