Flores and Miss Paula

Ecco: HarperCollins. Dec. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9780063272491. $29. F
Three years after the death of the family patriarch, 33-year-old Brooklyn-based Monica Flores and her mother Paula are still struggling with his loss in vastly separate ways. Paula, tired of a minimum-wage job, speaks up to get more responsibilities at work and navigates a complicated friendship with Vicente, a married man known to the family for years. Monica, a financial officer for an online start-up specializing in high-end aquariums and exotic fish, must pay off her student loans and her late father’s medical bills. She trusts the wrong person and loses her job, but a chance encounter with an investor plays to her advantage. In dual narrations, Monica and Paula give their individual perspectives on their Peruvian culture, which Monica knows very little about, and motherhood and marriage, both traps in Monica’s opinion, before eventually finding common ground.
VERDICT Rivero’s emotional plot explores a fragile mother-daughter relationship influenced by generational and cultural effects. An exciting second outing after Affairs of the Falcons.
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