Amada (Beloved) is the historical fiction account of two branches of the author’s Puerto Rican ancestry. Told from her deceased mother’s point of view, Nylda Dieppa brings to life the various members of those fundamentally different yet equally idealistic families. Going back and forth in time, Carmela Marina (or Amada, as her father fondly calls her) shares her newly rediscovered memories of her family. She speaks with the clarity and fresh wisdom of someone who has finished the spiritual race to heaven after jumping over life’s hurdles and confronting unexpected temptations.
Amada grows in 1920’s San Juan, Puerto Rico surrounded by doting parents and inimitable relatives, and immersed in a profoundly Catholic culture. Inevitably, her faith is developed in the critically archaic ways of her ancestors that both sustain and devastate her.
Just as it seems that she won’t be able to escape the parental circumstances that conscribe her to the role of a dutiful daughter, she meets a carefree and intelligent young man from a very different background. When Antonio accepts to be baptized so he can court her, Carmela believes her prayers have been answered; but married life doesn’t turn out in the immaculate and orderly way she expected. Bewildered and terrified at the thought of eternal damnation, she escapes into an ascetic lifestyle in a home chapel Jorge builds for her. It is only after she is dead that Carmela is able to illuminate her dark Catholic upbringing. As she fearlessly discovers the details of Antonio’s own ancestry and the family he grew up in, she begins to understand his previously unfathomable character and learns to call him “Beloved.”