Queen of America

A Novel

Non-Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 02/07/2012
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

The setting is Mexico, 1892, the Tomochic rebellion. Teresita Urrea’s people considered her a saint, and spiritual leader. The title Saint of Cabora embarrassed the humble young woman. Teresita was strong with a heart of gold. The people looked to her as their leader. Her very existence infuriated the Mexican government, who desired her death. She was born to a poverty stricken peasant, Cayetana Chavez, and a wealthy Mexican rancher, Don Tomás Urrea. She accrued the wrath of Porfirio Díaz when she encouraged the Yaqui Indians to reject the rule of the Diaz government. She was arrested and sentenced to death. Upon her escape, she and her father fled to Arizona for her safety. Even in the United States she was not safe.

"The Queen of America" continues to share Teresita’s life and romance. I normally read very quickly devouring a book but in this instance I listened carefully to the CDs. I would turn the book off and think about what I’d just heard and then continue on. I savored the description of the plight of the people. The quality of the writing is magnificent, almost poetic. This tale will bring tears to the eyes of the most stoic reader. She was a normal woman elevated to “sainthood” by the people that needed a hero. All she wanted was a normal life.

This is the second book in a series. The first book is the "Hummingbird’s Daughter". The two books are very different; the first is written in a flamboyant and lively manner while the second is more sedate and subdued. While I prefer to read books in the proper order, "Queen of America" stands well on its own. I believe the author is also the reader/narrator. His accent is perfect. He reads with just the right intonation. This book convinces me that Luis Alberto Urrea is a writer whose work will someday join other classics.