Ella Lynch is beauitiful, young, and divorced. Living in 19th Paris she catches the eye of an up-and-coming military ruler (Franco) from South America. He courts her voraciously but she is not quite impressed. Ella has no money but is desperate to maintain her first-class lifestyle of masquerade balls and carriage rides and servants. Franco soon wins Ella's companionship though not her love and the pair travel to Paraguay (along with some of Ella's consorts) to begin a new life together.
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Life in the new land is not what Ella expected. There is no European-style civilization though Franco promises to build it. Travel is difficult and the language is absolutely foreign to Ella. Ella and Franco have many children together but never marry. In the decades across which the story is told Franco inherits the government from his father and courts numerous mistresses. All the while Ella struggles to maintain her lifestyle in this undeveloped swampy country where she finds few friends. Franco has only a loose control over his people and he quickly becomes a hated dictator who jails and tortures his family and friends. Unable to manipulate the surrounding governments Franco begins a long war that he cannot win. Ella never loses faith in Franco and they remain a couple of sorts despite thousands of murders, relentless torture, and plague.
The review of this Book prepared by P Cohen