In the Time of the Butterflies was published in 1994. It was selected as a Notable Book for 1994 by the American Library Association, and it was also a 1994 Book of the Month Club choice. In 1995, it was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction, and it was chosen as one of the Best Books for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association and the American Library Association. The book was made into a film in 2001, directed by Mariano Barroso and starring Salma Hayek as Minerva. Mark Anthony played the role of Lío.
In the Time of the Butterflies is a fictionalized account of the revolutionary activity and personal lives of the Mirabal sisters and their families and compatriots in the Dominican Republic under the Trujillo regime. It is divided into three sections of four chapters each. Each part opens with Dede. Her narration is in the third person whereas the narration of the other sisters is in the first person. Her chapters are divided into two parts: the present (1994) and the past, when her sisters were alive, beginning with 1943. The time frame of the "present" is a span of just one afternoon, during which Dede gives an interview. The interview questions transport Dede (and thus the reader) back in time and into the consciousness of each sister.