Cantora - Sylvia Lopez-Medina 3.5 starsThis was a nice selection for summer. Easy to read but not oversimplified. It does jump around in time a bit, but it's easy to keep track. The book follows four generations of Mexican mestiza women from 1904 through 1978. They are locked into a patriarchal, strictly religious culture, but each of the women manages to defy that culture in her own way. Amparo, the woman of the fourth generation, goes on a quest to uncover the family's hidden past. I figured out the big secret fairly early, but then, I had more information than Amparo did. I enjoyed the earlier parts of the book best because I thought the old customs and lifestyles were interesting. Some of the traditions, like arranged marriage, are gone and good riddance; but with others, the loss is regrettable. Amparo tells of how her grandmother Rosario would spend an hour every night brushing her long hair and chanting her lineage all the way back to the Mayan pyramids. No one in the family got around to learning the chant, and Amparo laments the loss: We had taken for granted an oral tradition that had been in place for generations. Someone was going to learn it someday. If it had been saved I could take down my hair and sing my grandmother's song for you.