Woman and Schoolteacher (in a world of men)

Viviana Rivero

NOVEL. EL EMPORIO, 2010. 156 PAGES.

“Manuel’s grey eyes and angular cheekbones popped into her mind. But she drove the image away by concentrating on the school. Her determination to expand the education system in the country had become the priority. For the moment the two were incompatible.”

The year is 1885 and in the state of Córdoba the first ever secular state-run school has been founded. It will be overseen by women, including the young Mercedes Castro who, excited by the opportunity, agrees to sign a contract in which she commits not to wear make-up or colourful clothing and renounces relationships and marriage for as long as she is a teacher.  

The city is caught in the flames of political turbulence. Liberals supporting the new school are opposed by conservative forces who refuse to countenance any schooling not run by the Catholic church. In the midst of the turmoil that led the country to cut ties with the Vatican and a serious cholera epidemic, Mercedes will find love, a love that in itself threatens her vocation to teach. But Manuel Urtiaga, a courageous, seductive landowner from Buenos Aires has no fear of this new breed of women. At his side, Mercedes will challenge her family, society and even the government.   

With the narrative skill and passion for everyday details and the portrayal of emotions for which she is well-known, Viviana Rivero brings a powerful love story and the ideals on which Argentina is founded to life.

Winner of First Prize in the 2009 Historical Novel Competition run by the Government of San Luis

PUBLISHED BY: Latin America EL EMPORIO / EMECÉ

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