In 1954, as civil war looms over Guatemala, a startling discovery at an archaeological dig triggers a series of events that threaten the lives and well-being of three women.
Meg Fuente, the archaeologist's American wife, is drawn to the camaraderie and idealism of a left-wing political group, but she recognizes that she might be putting herself in danger if the progressive government falls. Patricia, the headstrong daughter of a wealthy coffee planter, is determined to excavate at the Fuentes' dig, but she must keep her labors hidden from her violent, right-wing father. And Noemi, a girl from a poor indigenous town, is able to stave off hunger thanks to her brother's salary as foreman at the dig—but some of the town Elders see the excavations as an insult to their ancestors, a mysterious group who once lived in the valley where the dig is situated.
In a political atmosphere suffused with hatred and fear, a major archaeological find sets forces in motion that lead to shattering losses for the women. To survive, they must forge ties among family and friends and draw strength from centuries-old traditions.
A dramatic, finely-woven tale filled with riveting historical detail, Reading the Knots is set at a pivotal time in Latin American history, when the democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz came to a violent and tragic end.