Teresita was a woman who beheld healing powers that led to many calling her a saint. They flocked to her; seeking health, peace and a better life. Hers was a complicated existence.

“The Hummingbird’s Daughter” (Little, Brown and Company, 2005) by Luis Alberto Urrea is fiction, though it is based on a real person who lived in Mexico in the late 1800s.

I listened to the book on my drive north last month from Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, to South Lake Tahoe, California. It seemed so appropriate to be captivated by this mystique novel as I spent hours in Mexico. Even though I was on the peninsula, and not mainland Mexico where the book takes place, I felt a connection that seemed to disappear as I crossed the border and kept listening along the busy highways of Southern California. Perhaps she had a spell on me.

I am sure some would be put off by this book based on the religious aspect. Don’t let it stop you from reading (or listening) to this captivating tale. It’s not really what the book is about.

Teresita is a wonderful main character. This young woman is so incredibly strong, determined and progressive. She is the reason to read the book.

Even though I prefer non-fiction, one thing about historical fiction that I like is the aspects of truth that spill forth. The social and physical settings are almost always true in their descriptions. In this case the large ranchos, the wealthy v. impoverished, racial struggles, infidelity, children sired by men who never intended to be fathers are all believable.

There is so much depth to this book. It was the perfect companion on a long drive.

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