Eleven years before Uncle Tom's Cabin fanned the fires of abolition in North America, an aristocratic Cuban woman told an impassioned story of the fatal love of a mulatto slave for his white owner's daughter. So controversial was Sab's theme of miscegenation and its parallel between the powerlessness and enslavement of blacks and the economic and matrimonial subservience of women that the book was not published in Cuba until 1914, seventy-three years after its original 1841 publication in Spain.
Also included in the volume is Avellaneda's Autobiography (1839), whose portrait of an intelligent, flamboyant woman struggling against the restrictions of her era amplifies the novel's exploration of the patriarchal oppression of minorities and women.
"The first English translation of the major work of a privileged, unconventional, and somewhat neglected Cuban author. . . . A worthy addition to scholarship in Latin American studies, useful in comparative literature and social history courses covering such writers as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jorge Isaacs, Alejo Carpentier, or Ramon del Valle-Inclán."