In the waning days of World War II, as the Japanese and U.S. forces battle to possess the Philippine Islands, the Karangalan family hides with their neighbors in a cramped cellar, where they glean hope from the family stories and folktales they tell each other. These stories of love, survival, and family blend the supernatural with the rich, little known history of the Philippines, the centuries of Spanish colonization, the power of the Catholic church, and the colorful worlds of the Spanish, Mestizo, and Filipino cultures. As the villagers tell their stories in the darkened cellar below, Holthe masterfully weaves in the stories of three brave Filipinos - a teenage brother and sister and a guerilla fighter - as they become caught in the battle against the vicious Japanese forces above ground. Inspired by her father's firsthand accounts of this period, Tess Uriza Holthe brings to magical and terrifying life a story of the hope and courage needed to survive in wartime.
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