This is almost a very good novel. In spite of its not quite reaching the stars, it is immensely good reading. I liked the sprawling pattern of family life, a sort of Matriarch feel to it -- in the portrait of the Esquivel clan. Lolita and Loreno, children of Eloisa, are the central figures, and around then rages the storm of family quarrels, of local discrimination against ""foreigners"" (the Esquivels are Spanish descent, but have been Americans for generations). They fight back, -- Loo by escaping into a compensatory affair with a Mexican girl; Lolita by turning for understanding to an Easterner who loves her, and finding out almost too late that it is really a childhood friend she loves. But the real quality of the story lies in the second string characters, particularly Uncle Bustamnte, charmer, waster, who loses their money for them and imperils their position and their pride by getting involved with a girl he has ""betrayed"" and a lawsuit. Aunt Coferina is the Matriarch of the clan, although she returns late in life to take up the reins. At the close, Lazo denies his Americanism by trying to run away from the draft, but a long lost uncle turns up to prove that the battle must be fought on the home base. A melodramatic ending -to a good yarn.