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Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite
Agustina de Aragón by Gail Meath merges Spanish history with romance, bringing a story that stirs your heart. Agustina was a strong and opinionated young woman when Sergeant Juan Roca first met her while throwing her shoe at another soldier. The soldiers all thought she hung out at the barracks to find a husband, but that was furthest from the truth. Her loyalty and devotion to Spain kept her vigilant and watchful as France and Britain danced around a war that would pull Spain into its web. Juan’s persistence and attention to detail win Agustina over, beginning a flaming romance that survives the war, separation, and the greatest sacrifice that almost destroyed them.
I love how Gail Meath writes novels about scarcely-known characters that accomplish brilliant feats in history. Agustina de Aragón highlights a dark time in Spain’s history as Napoleon Bonaparte walks all over the Spanish people as part of his plan to dominate. Agustina played a principal part in the Peninsular War when she fired point-blank at the French. Her spunk and bravery revived her people to fight back, renewing their spirit. The characters ruled the pages of this novel, just as they did in history. With edgy precision, Gail Meath applies elements of remarkable historical fiction: an interesting plot, courageous characters, danger, and excellent writing. The writing leaves you feeling raw as Agustina and Juan fight against incredible odds. I could not put this novel down and I cried in various places, knowing that many of the details surrounding the characters actually happened.