In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez is a slightly fictionalized account, published in 1994, of real events that occurred during the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina in the Dominican Republic (1930-1961). The main characters are four real people, the Mirabel sisters, who were part of the underground opposition to the dictatorship.
Patria Mercedes Mirabal de González is the oldest sister. She is a deeply religious woman and mother who helps the revolutionary movement out of love for her children and all the children of the country.
Dedé Mirabal de Fernández is the second sister, and the only one to survive because she did not want to risk her marriage to Jaimito by becoming an active revolutionary. After her sisters' murder, she eventually divorces and opens a museum dedicated to their memory.
Minerva Mirabal de Tavárez is the the third sister, whose ambitions to practice law are thwarted when she refuses sexual advances from Trujillo. She is a dedicated revolutionary.
María Teresa Mirabal de Guzmán is the youngest sister and also a dedicated and passionate revolutionary.
Mercedes Reyes de Mirabal is the mother of the four sisters.