For this fictionalized account of the life of Tina Modotti (1896-1942), Elena Poniatowska devoted ten years of research to fully understand the woman who was so caught up in the social and political turbulence of the pre-World War II decades. At different times in her life, Modotti was a silent screen actress, a model for Diego Rivera's murals, and a lover of photographer Edward Weston. She was also a champion for the Mexican people who lovingly referred to her as Tinisima. In 1929, Modotti was accused of the murder of Julio Antonio Mella, her Cuban lover. She fled to the U.S.S.R. to escape the Mexican press and then to Europe, where she became a Soviet secret agent and a nurse under an assumed name, returning to Mexico to meet an early death at the age of forty-five.
Elena Poniatowska is the award-winning author of over fifty books, including Lilus Kikus (UNM Press). Poniatowska has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Emeritus Fellowship from Mexico's National Council of Culture and Arts. In 1979, she became the first woman to win the Mexican National Award for Journalism. Katherine Silver also translated Elena Poniatowska's Dear Diego.