Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of Butterflies is a historical fiction novel inspired by the true story of the Mirabal sisters and their experiences under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The novel begins in 1994, where the last surviving sister Dedé is interviewed about her experiences in the revolution, the ups and downs of her family life, and most importantly, the tragic legacy of her deceased sisters, the “Mariposas” or in English, the butterflies. Throughout the novel are strategically placed memories, from 1943 until the death of each sister in 1960. A revolutionary story, each chapter takes the perspective of each of the four sisters, Dedé, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Patria. Throughout the novel, each chapter gradually unpacks the lives of these sisters, unfolding the drama within their own lives in the face of an atrocious regime. Julia Alverez brings to life the authentic experience of the sisters while making them characters that would build stronger bonds with its readers. She perfectly executes capturing the revolutionary nature of the Mirabal sisters while making them relatable, leaving us recognizing themes of courage, sisterhood, and love in the face of adversity, and power.
Angel Townsend & Michael Ortizo, 2019