By Gillian Flynn
Updated March 22, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

In the Dominican Republic at the beginning of the 20th century, Graciela daydreams of a turquoise house and adventures near the edge of the sky. Instead she gets a leaky shack and a baby girl, Mercedes — who ends up in New York City, struggling to raise her absentee daughter’s willful child, Leila. In her debut novel, Rosario effortlessly intermingles three generations of women, dropping unadorned dialogue amid spare and lovely prose. Each character chases love and fulfillment, but the yearning is never overwrought. Desires and despairs are distributed quietly; they glow not like jewels but like well-worn stones.

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