Curious and quiet when very young, Isabel Ramos developed a robust sense of humor in her teens. That sense of humor, combined with a longing for freedom, would serve her well. Vivid memories of happy days on Cuban beaches and sad days in a boarding school at the age of seven still linger. Her passionate love for the piano sustained her through difficult times, and how she and her friends out-maneuvered a rigid boarding school principal is still cause for laughter at reunions. A time-honored celebration became the catalyst that took Isabelita from Candler, a college she loved. She enrolled in La Progresiva the following semester, another boarding school. While Isabel was growing up, Fidel Castro doggedly plotted his revolution, promising wonderful changes in Cuba. Those changes ultimately left the Ramos and Aguilar families only two choices-embrace communism or flee, at their peril. As two tyrants collided, the beautiful dark-eyed girl encountered a tall, dark, and handsome stranger who would change her life. Romance happens, no matter how many buildings are blown up. How she and her husband dealt with Fidel Castro's tyranny, more oppressive and threatening than anything anyone could have imagined, is a tribute to all who gave up everything they owned to become free. More courageous than they knew, she and her husband took their baby boy on a desperate long flight to Spain, which was not their final destination. Roses and Thorns focuses on events through seven decades in the life of the remarkable, unforgettable Isabel Ramos de Aguilar. Her courage and unwavering faith in God, a commitment she made soon after she and her little family relocated to Salem, Illinois, has sustained her through tragic loss, auto accidents, and life-threatening illnesses. She is small in stature but Amazonian in prayer, character, strength, and grace.