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The Hummingbird's Daughter
Acclaimed Latino author Urrea has created a wonderfully detailed historical novel based on the life of Teresita, the Saint of Cabora. Born in 1873, Teresita has an impoverished upbringing. Her mother is a 14-year-old Indian girl; her father, a wealthy rancher, comes from the Mexico-Arizona border. Raised by an aunt who abuses and neglects her, Teresita nevertheless learns how to read and becomes an expert rider, and she possesses healing powers that give her the reputation of a "chosen child." A local medicine woman takes her on as a student of sorts, and eventually, her rancher-father, Don Tomás Urrea brings her into his home. But hardship follows Teresita, who is raped at the age of 16, after which she falls into a coma and seems to die. In the middle of her own wake, incredibly enough, she rises up in her coffin, most definitely alive. Even as thousands of pilgrims flock to see her, the Catholic Church brands her as a heretic. Believed to have inspired an Indian rebellion against Mexico, Teresitaonly 19later receives a sentence of execution. Urrea realistically depicts the dirt-poor existence of Mexican farmers and their faith in this beloved saint, who happened to be his great-aunt. Mixing elements of magical realism, folklore, and history, he has created a rich and vivid portrait of the Southwest in the late 1800s.
A reading group guide is included in the book.