Defiance and Redemption By Maria J. Andrade – Pump Up Your Book Tour

A coming of age story about love, scandal, sisterhood, and the courage to define your own life…

By Maria J. Andrade

DEFIANCE AND REDEMPTION: A LIFETIME OF UNBROKEN BONDS, Historical Fiction/Women’s Fiction/ Magical Realism, Clara Publishing, 250 pp.


Based on a true story, Defiance and Redemption, A Lifetime of Unbroken Bonds, brings to life the joys, dramas, and triumphs of two sisters, Eva and Victoria Alisio and their loyal friend Marta. The sisters are raised by their atheist Grandfather Marcus and religious Grandmother Maria Luisa. Eva, a proud and strong-willed young woman defies her family, society, and culture, faces scandal and disgrace, for her forbidden love affair. Victoria finds herself in the center of a multigenerational conflict as her benefactor bestows a great inheritance on her excluding the rightful heirs. Marta, loyal to the childhood bond with the Alisio sisters, brings humor and support to their twists and turns of fortune. The young women’s bond of love, and perseverance, carries them through ordinary and extraordinary losses, triumphs, and ultimately to their destiny in the United States.

An important novel about 20th Century women, Defiance and Redemption, is an absorbing epic that moves through decades and destinies. It blends personal and historical events into a collective tale of self-determination, love, and sisterhood.


“This book is an engrossing page turner which will pull you in and keep you cheering for your favorite actors until the very end! Defiance and Redemption is a unique book that tells a story that is both particular to a given time in Ecuador, but also universal in its themes of love, betrayal and survival.” – Nancy Mintie, Founder of Uncommon Good

“Reading Defiance and Redemption reminded me of a distant time when I read Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Like these writers, Maria Andrade took me through a captivating journey of love and deep passion. Being gripped by the strong emotions that the characters possess and what they did in the end moved me profoundly.” – Maria Donovan, Retired Verizon Executive

“In Defiance and Redemption, Maria Andrade weaves together history, biography, and fiction into a romantic love and a story of three women that defy the ability of patriarchal culture to define them. We see the young women grow up to rise above the shame that tries to silence and limit them. They learn to find their voices and make sacrifices to be true to themselves as women. They leave behind all that they knew to make a better life for themselves and their daughters. This is a book to remind women of all ages where we came from, and what it took to break out and thrive nearly a century ago. Women like these paved the way for all who came after and have the rights we have today.” – Nancy Poitou, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Chapter 1


national swimming champion, Eduardo Velasquez, lay dying

in a hospital bed in Ecuador, South America. His
stomach was

filled with cancer. He had always lived for the
present, so he rarely

ever thought of his death, least of all at
fifty-two. In the hospital room

were six of his children. The eldest, Amalia,
was standing close by

his bedside. She was the product of his
relationship with the great

passion of his life, Eva, a woman he had loved
and lost.

     At the foot of the bed,
across the room, was Dolores, his wife

of twenty years, and her adolescent children. On
the other side of

his bed, seated by the wall, were two young
adult children from his

extramarital affairs. He had brought these
children to his wife to raise

when they were infants.

    Many miles away, two more of his
illegitimate children would

leave their jungle home and arrive in threadbare
clothing the following

day to attend his funeral at La Immaculada
Concepción church.

The two would enter the church, misspell their
last name on the guest

roster and weep in each other’s arms. At the
church, they would find

well-known sports figures, celebrities from the
world of entertainment,

politicians, and the news media from various
parts of South

America. Many of the citizens of Guayaquil would
be there to file

through the church and pay their respects to
their hero and champion.

     Few in Eduardo’s family
would notice the two offspring until

later. When their identities were discovered,
many would be shocked

and outraged. Many, but not his daughter Amalia.
She loved her father

with the bittersweet adoration her mother had
imbued in her.

She loved him with blindness, which forgave him
everything, his

extramarital affairs, his illegitimate children,
even the fact that he had

spent little time in her life.

     But Dolores, his wife, could
not forgive him. She had suffered

too many of his infidelities. Through the years,
her resentment had

turned into bitterness and eventually a weary
resignation. Yet, she

often comforted herself with the rationalization
that she was his wife.

The other women had been mere interludes in his
life. Her position

in society was clearly defined and well

     In her culture, it was
common and even expected that men would

misbehave and that the consequences might be
illegitimate children.

That was nothing new. Yet sometimes, as the men
aged, they settled

down. They would then spend their older years in
the company of

their patient wives and beloved grandchildren.
This had long been

Dolores’ hope, a hope that died when Eduardo’s
cancer was discovered

three months earlier.

     Now, she felt the ultimate
betrayal. He would abandon her once

again, this time, forever. Not only was this
fatal reality approaching,

but he also was dying without a will, a fact
that further complicated

her life. She had her attorney fashion a will
making her and her

children universal heirs, but Eduardo would not
sign it.

     No matter how many times she
placed his weak hand on the document, 

his eyes would look at it, he’d whisper, “no,”
and he would drop the pen.

Eduardo examined his life with Dolores. He had
only loved once,

but it was not her whom he loved. Dolores knew
when she met him,

he would not be faithful. But he vowed never to
leave her. She had

chosen to live with him and raise their
children, even those who were

not hers. He was grateful, and he would leave no
will so she and the

children could all own the land.

     His father, Don Miguel
Velasquez, had also not left a will when

he died, yet Eduardo and his half-brother Bolivar
inherited La Perla

Negra, the Black Pearl, a large hacienda that
stood between two rivers.

The two brothers fulfilled their father’s wish.
They honored each

other and held title to the land equally, though
their mothers never

accepted this. Until Bolivar died, he and his
brother worked side by

side, caring for the estate on thousands of
acres of rich, dark, volcanic

soil. On it was a farm with an abundant market
of fruits and vegetables,

but the most commercial crop was the large,
sweet bananas,

sold nationally and internationally. On either
side of the property

were two rivers flowing in opposite directions,
each one producing

fresh fish, and on the land were thousands of
head of cattle and over

a hundred fine horses.Eduardo expected his
children to follow in his footsteps to love

and work the land together. No one would be

     Dolores observed her dying
husband resentfully and determined

her ultimate revenge would be to see that only
she and her children

got La Perla Negra, not his other bastards. She
had accepted the humiliation

of his misdeeds with other women for two
decades. She had

raised other women’s children not with kindness
but expecting that

she would one day win his love and loyalty. Now
he would fail her

again by not granting her sole ownership of his
estate. She resented

his eldest daughter. 

     Dolores imagined Amalia had
crossed a continent

only to partake in his inheritance. She looked
at Amalia with disdain

and refused to address her.

     Amalia took little notice.
She watched with curiosity as her father

periodically lifted his hands before him, intent
on studying them

front and back. His body was dying, but his
hands, tan and strong,

were still alive. He reviewed them carefully as
if assuring himself for

the last time that he yet existed. He studied
them as if they were a

mirror holding the memory of his sensuous past.

     Eduardo’s hands had caressed
many women, shaken hands with

friends and enemies. They had played and glided
through the silky

warmth or the chill in the depth of waters.
Since he was a boy, he had

dived into rivers, lakes, and oceans to become a
swimmer his country

would not soon forget.

     His hands had also worked
hard alongside the campesinos, planting,

harvesting, branding cattle, corralling, and
riding horses, building

fences, and performing the countless repetitive
tasks that filled

his days and nights. He had given the land his
fidelity and more. He

had given what every young laborer gives, his
strength, youth, and

time, which is sold for a price but is priceless
and unrecoverable. He

had given generously year by year to the point
of exhaustion in the

unforgiving environment of heat, torrential
rains, mud, insects, and


     He had tended his piece of
earth, and like his ancestors, he had

made a covenant with the land. He had become the
thing he loved.

He and the land were wed to each other, and only
death would separate


     His eyes swelled with tears
realizing he would never see the

Black Pearl again. He looked at his hands once
more before letting

them fall to his sides feeling listless, aware
he was leaving his life

and all that he loved.

     Amalia stood by her father’s
side at last, after waiting years to be

with him. She wiped the tears gently from his
face and kissed him on

the cheek. Brief had been their encounter, and
soon she would never

see him again. She stared at him for long
periods with love, sorrow,

and concentration, to remember his countenance
and take with her

the essence of his spirit.

     He smiled up at her, and she
observed his eyes more closely,

deep-set and caramel colored. His life ebbed
away, yet his skin was

golden, his brow as beautiful as her mother had
always described it.

He reached for her, and his hands showed the
years of toil, but his

touch was tender.

     “Give me your hand,” he
said, and their fingers interlaced. “This

will be the bridge we build between us, which
nothing will ever destroy.”

He looked into her eyes, but he could barely see

Softly he whispered his last thoughts, “Eva,” he
said lovingly,

“I knew you would return. I have waited for

He was calling her mother’s name! Dolores, who
had approached his 

bedside, heard him. She turned away furiously
and stormed out of the 

room with her children following.

     “I am here, beloved,” the
daughter responded, trying to fulfill the

dying man’s last wish. Hearing her words,
Eduardo smiled, exhaled,

and was gone.

     Amalia said the Lord’s
Prayer as she placed her hand on his chest,

but there was no heartbeat. She imagined his
spirit lifting upward out

of his body and away into the sky. The sun was
setting. She thought

of her mother in another continent and wished
that Eva was there instead

of herself. Then she realized once more that her
father had been

right. Eva was present through her.


* * *


She had heard the story of her parents’ love for
each other all her

life. Now more than ever, she wondered how her
mother ever had the

strength to face disgrace in order to gain the
love of this man. Why

did she part from him, whom she loved so much?
How had a woman

with two small children find the courage to
leave her country and become

a stranger in a strange land? What kind of
fierce determination

possessed her to become an immigrant who would
set out with no

resources, no employable skills, and embark on
such a risky venture?

     It had been over two decades
since Eva left with her two daughters.

Yet only now, in the country of her birth, did
Amalia begin to

grasp the pieces of the world that had shaped her
mother. It was a

world that now barely existed. She wanted to see
it, catch it, one day

describe it to her children before it
disappeared, for, like all the moments

we live, it was foam on a receding wave. 




  1. Maria is ambidextrous but she writes with her left hand.
  2. She was born prematurely at 6 months but weighed 7 ½ lbs.
  3. She studied her dreams for over thirty years and believes they changed her life.
  4. Everything she loves, is most important to her, can be found in a book she wrote for children, Youngen Finds Her Song, An Amazing Adventure from the Heart of Nature.
  5. The voices of the birds and insects in that same story is her voice doing the characters, sound effects, and the music.
  6. Grasshoppers make her nervous, so she runs away when she sees one.
  7. She and her sometimes skip together like grasshoppers when they are happy and if they are in town, it causes people to laugh.
  8. She fought for prison reform for over twenty years, helped found “Mother’s Rock,” which became, (FACTS) Families Against California’s Three Strikes Law until the law was amended.
  9. Many of her writing ideas come during the time she awakens from sleep.
  10. Her very best friend is her husband with whom she has lived for thirty years.


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Maria J. Andrade was born in Ecuador, South America, and raised in New York and California. She has a bachelor of arts degree in English literature and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. As a licensed therapist and writer, Maria has been diving into other people’s minds and her own, through dreams, poetry, and books for over three decades. She traveled with the Four Winds Society where she studied and was initiated into Andean shamanism in 1990.

Before Maria retired as a therapist, she specialized in women’s issues and founded the Wise Women’s Circle a ritualistic and transpersonal study group that continues today. The women support each other through life’s challenges and in the growth of mind, body, and spirit.

Maria Andrade’s books for children and adults is found in a variety of genres. This is an unforgettable first novel that reflects her imagination and creative storytelling.

Defiance and Redemption is her latest release.

Visit her website at or connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

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