In the spirit of many an excellent first novel, Kushner drew from her own family’s history to weave this gripping tale set in Cuba on the cusp of the Communist revolution. It is a tale of rural, midwestern families with farming roots trying to make a go on a sugar plantation. It is a tale of race and class. It is a tale of guerillas and a strange veteran of WWII (a nazi) who gets involved with untrained soldiers hiding in the mountains. It is a tale of women with few options making the most of what they have in a timeless Havana. It is a tale of growing up.