The Amado Women

By: Désirée Zamorano

Four women, connected by birth, separated by secrets.



Mercy Amado raised three daughters and became a teacher with little help from her drunken, philandering husband.

Now she watches helplessly as those sisters drift apart as adults. Investment manager Celeste and artist Nataly barely speak; Sylvia lives in wealthy suburbia with an abusive Anglo husband. When Sylvia's marriage crumbles, the Amado women test the strength of their family ties.

Désirée Zamorano says that she was taken aback by the negative reaction to Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark. And she is appalled by stereotypical rendering of Latinas in mainstream literature, saying that true-to-life middle-class Latinas are invisible in the fabric of American culture. Zamorano is a playwright, Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction, and the director of the Community Literacy Center at Occidental College. She also collaborates with InsideOut Writers, a program that works with formerly incarcerated youth. She lives in Pasadena, California.

10 reviews for The Amado Women

  1. Shelf Awareness for Readers
    “A finely rendered story of a multigenerational Latina family overcoming individual setbacks and tragedies.”—Bruce Jacobs

  2. Dagoberto Gilb, author of Before The End, After The Beginning
    “Far from the cholos and maids of a cliché Latino Los Angeles, these beautiful Amado women dine at chichi hotels and restaurants, carry plush designer bags, and steer new cars into suburbias. But Zamorano doesn’t leave it at that–because even an American dream-fulfilled life is still full of real life, and what alone endures is family.”

  3. Library Journal
    “Zamorano says she wanted to portray the life of “the invisible Latina,” but this novel will appeal to … readers of any ethnic background who enjoy a fast-paced story with lots of family drama and strong characters who overcome bad relationships and the other adversities life hands them.”—Leslie Patterson

  4. Los Angeles Review of Books
    “The Amado Women (Cinco Puntos Press), unlike narratives centered on undocumented immigrants struggling to make it in the ‘land of opportunity,’ focuses on upwardly mobile, middle-class Latinas in contemporary Southern California. Her protagonists — a matriarch and her three adult daughters — are successful women, though not without the troubles many, regardless of economic status, encounter: failed marriages, family pressure to play an ‘appropriate’ role, self-doubt in one’s parenting decisions. An entertaining and important novel, The Amado Women offers a valid, realistic depiction of a group of Latinas largely ignored in US literature.”—Daniel A. Olivas

  5. Latina Book Club
    “Stunning, original, beautiful, mesmerizing… It’s a fast paced, emotionally-packed tale that will captivate readers from the start.”

  6. Chicago Literati
    “Zamorano set out to write Latinas who broke out of stereotypical media caricatures, and in this, she succeeded… The novel’s domestic struggles hold the reader in a constant state of suspense, and the character’s actions seem at once unpredictable and inevitable.”

  7. The Rumpus
    “The Amado Women is a fast-paced novel that manages the rare feat of being both entertaining and heartfelt. In Désirée Zamorano’s gifted hands, these women come alive. They are women you know, women who are immensely relatable. You understand their ever-so-human failures and you root for them to succeed. A haunting, well-crafted story from a novelist at the peak of her powers.”—Hope Wabuke

  8. Hometown Pasadena
    “From its shocking opening to its dream-like ending, Désirée Zamorano’s The Amado Women dishes out secrets, lies, and hurts as fast as we can gobble them up.”—Petrea Burchard

  9. Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of 100 Places every Woman Should Go
    “What’s it like reading Zamorano’s debut novel? Take three wildly divergent sisters, a worrying mother, and an electrifying city. Blend in the heartache of marriage and an arsenal of secrets. Serve to all your comadres with a jalapeño twist.”

  10. Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama and Georgia Bottoms
    “Désirée Zamorano’s first novel explores a world of Latinas that belongs to her alone. Such originality predicts a notable career in the world of fiction. The author’s voice is true, and her stories feel real.”

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