Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Angelica's Daughters: A Dugtungan Novel by Cecilia Brainard, Erma Cuizon, Susan Evangelista, Veronica Montes and Nadine Sarreal

(Photo taken from Anvil Publishing)

Title: Angelica's Daughters:  A Dugtungan Novel
Author:  Cecilia Brainard, Erma Cuizon, Susan Evangelista, Veronica Montes and Nadine Sarreal
Publisher: Anvil Publishing
Language: English
ISBN - 97127-24282

For the first time, I am going to do a review for a Filipino-published book.  Love your own!

I would like to discuss what a "Dugtungan Novel" is.  It's a collaborative writing procedure, where one author begins the story, an then passes it to another author to continue it.  Something like what David Levithan and Rachel Cohn did in Dash and Lily's Book of Dares only in their case, they only write for their assigned characters.  In a dugtungan (literally means "continue" in Filipino) novel, one author is responsible for continuing the whole story, and he/she may do with it whatever he/she wants, as long as it's still in context. 

And now for the story.  It's a historical novel that tells the romance of two women from different times - past and present - which involves their families and their own romantic lives.  I love the seamless transition of the story despite five different authors writing it.  The deft handling of the narration, the characters, and the setting makes for an exciting and insightful tale of two women across time and the men and women in their lives. 

The characters are very vivid and consistent, in spite of being passed from author to author, and the development of their stories are gripping and endearing at the same time.  The plot itself is solid, although a bit dramatic at times, but what Filipino fiction is not dramatic?  That's the signature of Filipino literature, I guess - drama.  Another thing to love in this book was that it had some recipes included!  Obviously, from the enthusiasm I exhibited for the recipes inside Flavor of the Week by Tucker Shaw, you'd know I would be thrilled with this part in the book.

Don't let the cover of the book fool you into thinking this is a serious book:  It's chick lit with intelligent dialogue and a touch of historical wisdom and romance.  The story also teaches us to stop sticking our heads in the sand:  Refusing to believe that there can be another person destined for us, or that we could not find happiness in ourselves alone.  It's easy to read but you learn something as you go along.  It's refreshing to read something like this coming from Filipino authors.  It used to be that I rarely read Filipino fiction written in the year 2000 onwards because I felt they were too "trying hard" or melodramatic for my taste.  Or perhaps they are too light and the resolution for conflicts are too hurried and was given too little thought - like it was written just for the sake of ending it.  I always stuck with the works of Nick Joaquin and F. Sionil Jose - the Filipino classics in my opinion.  But this book made me get off my literary high horse and appreciate the story for what it is:  light, endearing, insightful, and gripping.  


  1. Wow! You are a fast reader! :) Thanks for the review. Next time, I'll read books written by Filipino authors. :')

  2. Hi Nina,

    I'm Veronica Montes, one of the authors of Angelica's Daughters. Thanks very much for your review; we're so pleased you enjoyed the novel! If it's okay with you, I'm going to link to this on our blog, Re: Angelica's Daughters (

    Thanks again for your support!

  3. Veronica: Of course you may! Glad you liked the review :D

  4. Hi! I saw this review and I thought it'd be awesome if I posted it on Anvil's Facebook page. I hope this is alright.

    Keep on reading!


    Diwata (Social Media Coordinator, Anvil Publishing)

  5. Wal: That would be a great idea, thank you so much!


I just have to tell you, ARGH feeds on awesomeness, so if you can, drop him some awesome here, and I promise to give some awesome back :D

Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!