BOOK EXCERPT: Song of the Boricua by Olivia Castillo (Fiction)


Olivia Castillo 

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Independent
Publication Date:  July 28, 2018
Pages: 335  

Puerto Rico an island of contradiction, serves as an enchanting backdrop following three generations of women.
Elena: Resilient and ambitious, but trapped by duty to her children. Maria: Passionate and headstrong, but married to a man she does not love. Josephina: Optimistic and romantic, but in love with an alcoholic. Isabella: Clairvoyant and spiritual, but denies her heritage and roots. Like the land these women are held hostage, unfulfilled and unable to find their happiness. Each generation like the land is cursed. Can they defy the powerful bond of the curse and free themselves to find love everlasting? New author, Olivia Castillo, like the jibaros of the past weaves a tale of sorrow and joy. Castillos’ fiction is timely, offering a glimpse into the islands rich history and offering insight into the story that has plagued women for all of time, the search for true love and acceptance of self.


Book Excerpt 12 

Mornings like this one weren’t easy, but at least Elena knew what to expect: the hard work, the studying, the silence from her father. Little did she know how much she took his presence and influence in her life for granted. Like a machete slicing through coconut, life would change for all of them in an instant in the year of Elena’s fifteenth birthday. Unbeknownst to them, their time with her father was limited, and the end of life as she knew it drew to a close with speed that would have overwhelmed her, had she realized what was coming.
            One evening as Miguel was walking home from selling another load of sugar, he was hit with a wave of pain so intense his breath left him. Clutching his chest, he collapsed, his last thought being only that he would not be able to be home for dinner that evening. His sudden death shocked everyone, and Catala had to take over to make ends meet. She was in shock, overwhelmed by grief. Her days became a blur. It was too painful to truly acknowledge that her husband was gone.
            Catala tried to get work as a teacher but to no avail. She also tried to use her connections with La Treinta, but by then most of those women had left Puerto Rico or were struggling themselves. The time for revolution had passed for Catala. They moved into an even smaller home—barely a house—nearer to Old San Juan, which had more job opportunities.
            She went to work for an American factory doing needlepoint but could barely make a living with her meager earnings. Their savings had disappeared. Elena had to stop school to work also, sewing clothes for wealthy Americans while her mother worked at the factory.
            Still, Elena refused to give up on her dream. She continued to study from the books she had after her sewing was done, and on the rare nights that she could escape, Elena would wander through the zigzagged streets of Old San Juan, mingling with the diverse crowds, lost in her own little world.
            She would hear the sound of a horse and carriage on the cobblestone taking its passengers to some mysterious destination for the night and wished to be in that carriage going to a fancy dinner. Even though there were motorcars, horses and carriages were still used, and she imagined there was a sort of romance to riding in a carriage, taking in the sights as the horse clopped along. She would walk the extra half mile to El Morro, the famous old fort, just to have some extra time away from her problems at home.

Olivia Castillo is a New York native. After going to the prestigious Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she went on to study graphic design at Otis Parson’s College in Los Angeles. Along with being an entrepreneur, she is the mother of three children, and grandmother of two. When not writing or spending time with her family, she travels the world and paints. Songof the Boricua is her first novel.


Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours and Olivia Castillo! It was a pleasure hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

Monday, December 3 – Book Excerpt 1

PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, December 4 – Book Excerpt 2

Bound 2 Escape

Wednesday, December 5 – Book Excerpt 3

Stacking My Bookshelves

Friday, December 7 – Book Excerpt 4

What is That Book About

Monday, December 10 – Book Excerpt 5

My Fiction Nook

Tuesday, December 11 – Book Excerpt 6

C.A. Milson’s Author Blog

Wednesday, December 12 – Book Excerpt 7

T’s Stuff

Thursday, December 13 – Book Excerpt 8

Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, December 17 – Book Excerpt 9

From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, December 18 – Book Excerpt 10

Laura’s Interests

Wednesday, December 19 – Book Excerpt 11

Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Thursday, December 20 – Book Excerpt 12

That’s What She’s Reading

Wednesday, December 26 – Book Excerpt 13

A Title Wave

Thursday, December 27 – Book Excerpt 14

I’m Shelf-ish

Friday, December 28 – Book Excerpt 15

The Writer’s Life


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