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LITERARY LOCAL | Naperville Author Shares Latin American Storytelling Inspired by Puerto Rico's Past

MARISEL VERA, Author of The Taste of Sugar

NAPERVILLE–Chicago author Marisel Vera grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood with her five brothers and sisters and her parents who came to Chicago in the 1950’s from Puerto Rico to work in the factories. Her Latin American storytelling is inspired by Puerto Rico’s economic and political history and the challenges the citizens faced.

“I was intrigued when I learned that during 1900-1903, over 5,000 Puerto Ricans left their homeland to work in the Hawaiian sugar plantations,” says Marisel. “I wanted to find out what caused this exodus.” Years of research that included books, memoirs, and newspapers both in Spanish and English has led her to the story in her newest novel.

The Taste of Sugar tells the story of a young couple who leave Puerto Rico to work in the Hawaiian sugar plantations after

they lose their coffee farm in the aftermath of the 1898 U.S. invasion and the 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane. Called the “Latino Grapes of Wrath” by the Washington Post and recognized as one of the 12 best Latino books of 2020 by NBC News, Vera is connecting readers of historical fiction with people who like a good story and interesting characters.

The Taste of Sugar is available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and can be found at your favorite local bookstores. Follow Marisel at


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