Samartin, Cecilia 1961-

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Samartin, Cecilia 1961-


Born 1961, in Havana, Cuba; immigrated to the United States; married; stepchildren. Education: Graduated from University of California, Los Angeles.


Home—CA. E-mail—[email protected].


Psychotherapist and social worker in CA.



Ghost Heart, Bantam Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Broken Paradise, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Tarnished Beauty, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2008.


Cecilia Samartin came to the United States from her native Cuba with her family after the Communist revolution on the island nation. Samartin was a small child at the time. Her parents settled in Los Angeles, and she and her sister did their best to assimilate themselves into American culture, while still learning of their Cuban heritage from their grandparents. For many years, the girls had no understanding of the politics that had forced them to leave Cuba. As an adult, Samartin began working as a social worker and psychotherapist with people and families from Mexico, South America, and Central America.

In Broken Paradise, her first novel, Samartin evokes a portrait of Cuba before and after the revolution. Her story centers around Alicia and Nora, two cousins who enjoy a privileged life together until the conflict splits them apart. Alicia's parents support the revolution, while Nora's parents leave the country. The two cousins stay in touch via letters, but years later, Nora returns to find that Alicia's life has become desperate. Cuba has fallen into ruin, and beautiful Alicia, infected with HIV, works as a prostitute to support her blind daughter. "Samartin's narrative is so clear and emotional that you will forget this is fiction. Instead, you are transported to those terrifying days of the early Cuban revolution," stated Katherine M. Miller in Arm-chair Interviews. Another positive assessment came from BookLoons contributor Joan Burton, who found Broken Paradise to be "a beautiful story of family love and the ties that bind."



Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2006, review of Broken Paradise, p. 1151.

Publishers Weekly, November 13, 2006, review of Broken Paradise, p. 33.


Armchair Interviews, (August 27, 2007), Katherine M. Miller, review of Broken Paradise.

BookLoons, (August 27, 2007), Joan Burton, review of Broken Paradise.

Cecilia Samartin Home Page, (August 27, 2007).