What would you do if you were on a trip with your best friend and she just suddenly disappeared while on that trip, never to be seen again? Then years later without even a thought as to how or why she disappeared, you needed closure on the eve of your child being born.
When Lily was a teenager, she had a friend Irene Dos Santos which in Spanish means “Irene two saints” or in Portuguese means “Irene of the saints”. She was more trouble then saintly. Always taking things from Lilly or her family and blaming it on someone else or saying that they were just “loco” for even thinking such a thing. To be found later to actually have the items in question. The fact remains that when they were growing up Irene and Lily were inseparable, until Lily was sent to a convent school for getting caught kissing a boy in an elevator, then reunited a few years later for a summer holiday where Irene disappears without a word.
Back in present day, Lily is pregnant where she has a vision that brings back Irene’s memory after having this vision Lilly slips and falls. After she is checked out at the hospital, her family come together to tell their stories, folklore, how they met, how life was in Venezuela during times of upheaval, loss, and revolution. Through these stories and Lily being on bed rest, they find the answer they were looking for about what happened to Irene, as well as some long ago lost stories about how life was back then, how grateful they are now that they have such a good life, which is about to get better with the birth of their grandchild, who has been long awaited by not only Lily and her husband, but her whole family for one reason or another.
I found it interesting that the author would use the passionflower as a metaphor in the lives and those that have touched the lives of others in the novel, as one would think that they are connected, and some aren’t so connected, but in life we are all connected at one time or another, and that they will weave in and out of our lives, how we need to nurture and grow our relationships the same as we need to nurture and grow our plants.
Flush with the vivid reenactments of each character as each tells their own personal memories of what happened when they were in a certain place and time and how they all came together to be such great friends and lovers to their spouses through hard circumstances, and tests that have been placed upon them. What it is meant to love and be loved after decades and what it takes after all those years, which made me respect the characters and their values and morals and what they had endured to make them better for their families.