Eva Luna is the story of the main character, Eva Luna and the people and events in her life that shape her. Born to a servant in a South American country, Eva lives a varied life, sometimes exciting, sometimes, frightening, however she never lets adversity keep her down. Eva strives to persevere, and in the end, finds the happiness that eludes so many of her acquaintances through the years.
Eva is the daughter of Consuelo, a woman rescued by missionaries in the jungles of South America. Eva is conceived when the gardener for Consuelo's employer is bitten by a snake and Consuelo tries to help. The two wind up making love and when the gardener recovers he leaves. Consuelo is not bitter, having finally known love. Giving birth to her daughter alone in her room, Consuelo is helped in the end by the cook, who becomes Eva Luna's madrina, or godmother. Life for the girl is filled with love and adventure, growing up in the home of Professor Jones, surrounded by beautiful things and the mummies that the professor creates. Consuelo creates tales for her daughter about the mummies so that she will not be frightened. This is the first taste of fiction for Eva, something that will carry her through life.
The tragic death of Consuelo, followed by the death of the professor, changes life for Eva. As her madrina cannot take care of her, a home where Eva can work is found. Eva continues to flourish in the home of her first patrona and patron, a brother and sister. There Eva meets Elvira, the cook, and the two form a strong bond, one like grandmother and granddaughter. Eva is happy enough, though she struggles to find where she fits in life. During one outburst Eva finds herself in trouble with her patrona and flees. On the streets in the city, Eva meets Huberto Naranjo, a young boy who will be very important in Eva's life.
Eva's madrina finds herself in trouble which eventually causes Eva to lose her job. Moving from house to house, Eva meets many people, some who will have only a fleeting impact on her life and some who will be more important in the future. After reaching a breaking point with one employer, Eva flees again, once again meeting up with Huberto. The boy, now a young man, helps Eva, finding he a place to stay and giving her a sense of family for a brief time. Unrest and corruption in the country end things for Eva, who loses her friends and any sense of security. Fate brings Eva to Riad Halabi, a kindly man with a cleft lip who takes Eva to his distant village in the mountains and treats her life family.
Eva flourishes in Agua Santa, helping Riad in his store and caring for his wife, the spoiled Zulema. Learning to read and growing into a young woman, Eva is happy, but witnesses the beginning of the end when Zulema betrays her husband and then falls into depression. Eva is blamed for Zulema's death and is forced to leave her beloved village, but not before making love to the only man that has shown her kindness.
Back in the capitol, Eva meets up once again with her friend Mimi, once Melesio. Mimi is a transexual that Eva had known in her youth. Mimi had been a prisoner in Santa Maria prison for a time, but now lives happily with growing fame as an actress. The two live in the capital when Eva once again runs into Huberto, now a guerrilla fighter. Eva falls in love with Huberto once again, and helps him while he tries to change the government. Through Huberto, Eva meets Rolf Carle, a journalist who is making a documentary about the guerrillas and their fight against oppression. While Eva assists Rolf with the knowledge she has gained through the years, she falls in love with him and he with her. The two have lived similar lives of unstable childhoods and hardship, and have found their match in each other.
Eva Luna Lesson Plans contain 130 pages of teaching material, including: