"Bowden Simón captures Cuba's enduring allure in her debut memoir . . . She uncovers the indomitable soul of the island and finds a balm for her own" (Denise DiFulco, former senior editor, Latina magazine).
La Americana is the story of Melanie Bowden Simón, who, at the age of twenty-five, left her job at Tina Brown's Talk magazine following the death of her mother and decided to take a vacation in Havana, Cuba, with a friend. Little did she know that she would meet and fall in love with a Cuban man named Luis and dive headlong into a culture defined by beauty, humor, and grace within the unnerving realities of communism.
In this memoir, Simón details her fascination with Cuban culture as she grapples with the death of her mother. She also covers the struggle to get in and out of Cuba at a time when the country is labeled a pariah state. Yet over and over again, Simón manages to overcome international barriers and language and cultural obstaclesall in the name of her love for Luis.
"A romance, an adventure tale, and a raw depiction of loss that transcends place and time. The fact that this story is set in Cuba, though, makes for a fascinating and important read at this pivotal moment in US-Cuba relations." Sarah McCammon, political reporter, NPR
"Bowden Simón's travels and struggles are beautifully rendered in this evocative valentine to her mother, Cuba, and the power of love in the unlikeliest of places to heal a broken heart and spirit." Publishers Weekly
"Melanie Bowden Simón recounts her real-life love story in La Americana . . . Castro's Cuba serves as a particularly interesting backdrop." Bustle