DAUGHTER OF MADRUGADA by Frances M. Wood

DAUGHTER OF MADRUGADA

Age Range: 10 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Thirteen-year-old Cesa, who prefers horseback riding and playing with her brothers to housework, finds her life changed forever by the Mexican-American War and the California Gold Rush of 1848. The story centers on her love for the family’s extensive property—the Rancho del Valle de la Madrugada—and the struggles of her Mexican family to retain this land in the face of the desertion of the servants and workers to the gold fields, the movement of increasing numbers of Americans into the area, and the rulings of an unsympathetic new government. Vividly realized scenes, rich in the details of daily life, convey a strong sense of time and place from a perspective not often found in American children’s literature. The author’s sympathy is clearly with the Mexican landowners who are faced with the loss of their property, although their own stealing of this land from the Indians (now their servants and workers) is mentioned in a historical note. Unfortunately, a weak plot fails to provide coherence and a sense of direction to the seemingly random events and underdeveloped subplots, many of which are, like the characters, nevertheless interesting and memorable. Readers may find themselves wondering where the story is going as it jumps from tomboy versus ladylike behavior to economic and political issues, to first love and family relationships. Too bad since this period is so underrepresented in historical fiction for children. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 14th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-32719-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002




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