The Heiress of Water: A Novel By Sandra Rodriguez Barron
Just the title enraptured me!
From Publishers Weekly
At 12, Monica Winters is forced to exchange her privileged life in El Salvador as the daughter of the beautiful and headstrong heiress (and amateur marine biologist) Alma Borrero Winters for a humdrum existence in Connecticut with her cuckolded father after unfaithful Alma and her lover are attacked by soldiers at a gathering place for Communist rebels. His body is recovered, but Alma is lost to the sea.
Fifteen years later, disinherited by her mother’s family, Monica, now a successful massage therapist, is hired by Will Lucero to give Yvette, his comatose wife, a massage. A series of improbable events lands the cast at a clinic in El Salvador where researchers claim to be able to revive comatose patients using the venom of the very cone snail, thought to be extinct, that Monica’s mother spent her life searching for. As Will and Monica try to deny their attraction to one another, Monica begins piecing together the truth about her mother’s family (and there are many, many things to discover).
Though the scenes in El Salvador are vividly rendered, Barron clumsily handles the convoluted plot’s ungainly twists, but her debut is intriguing in spite of its excesses.