Book Club- Conquistadora

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Our latest book club read was Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago.  I would classify is at historical fiction, as part of takes place in Puerto Rico around the time of the Civil War.  It’s the story of Ana, a woman born in the Spanish upper class and how she ends up co-owning a sugar plantation.

I really enjoyed this book.  While I couldn’t relate to most of the characters, I found it didn’t matter.  It was such an interesting story with a variety of well developed characters.  I also enjoyed the parts of the book that described the harvesting, farming, processing, etc. of sugar.  

The author also did a good job of not minimize slavery, showing the atrocity that it was, including the awkward and complex relationships and dynamics surrounding it.  I would have liked some more in-depth story lines of some of the enslaved people in the book.  I can’t, however, help wondering if the lack of deep story lines for most of the slaves was also somehow a commentary on slavery itself…that there were thousands of unknown people whose stories we never heard?

A majority of the book took place in Puerto Rico.  Some of it was around the time of the American Civil War, so it was interesting seeing what was happening during that time in another country (or another country, at the time I should say). 

I highly recommend this book, it’s actually one I could see myself reading again.  The writing and story are both exceptional!

For the menu, I chose to focus on Puerto Rican food.  Here’s what we had:

  • Pernil – a spiced pork shoulder
  • Baked Yucca fries with Chipotle mayo
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Coconut Whiskey cocktail- see below

Our next book is They Called Us Enemy by George Takei.  We’ve never read a graphic novel before, so it’ll be interesting to try something new!  As always, you can check out my Book Club board on Pinterest to see what else we’ve read and my corresponding posts.


Coconut Whiskey

I wanted to also make a Puerto Rican cocktail and read that coconut water and whisky is popular there, so that seemed like an easy choice. I’d never had a cocktail made with coconut water, so it sounded intriguing.

This drink is refreshing and super simple to make.

Fill a scotch or highball glass with ice. 

Pour in half of the coconut water and the whiskey.

Top with the remaining coconut water and give it a stir.

Twist the orange peel over the glass and rub it along the rim of the glass before dropping it in the drink.




Coconut Whiskey
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  • 6 ounces coconut water
  • 1 ounce whiskey
  • Small piece of orange peel


  1. Fill glass with ice.  
  2. Pour in half of the coconut water and then whiskey. 
  3. Top with remaining coconut water and stir. 
  4. Twist orange peel over glass and rub it along rim before dropping into drink.

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