The main character in “The Surrender Tree” is Rosa, a real historical character whose full name was Rosario Castellanos Castellanos, also known in Cuba as Rosa la Bayamesa. Rosa was a healer during Cuba's bloody wars for independence. Although she worked primarily on the side of the rebels, she sometimes healed soldiers fighting on the Spanish side as well.
“The Surrender Tree” follows the story of Rosa through three of Cuba's wars of independence, showing her feelings and reaction to the war. Margarita Engle's poetry is well written with balanced and well distributed lines. The storyline is a little sparse, but the rewarding jewels of poetry encountered along the way make me recommend “The Surrender Tree” as a worthwhile poetry book to read.
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