Winner of the Julia Ellsworth Ford Foundation award, this is a handsomely written and sensitively constructed novel of the Spanish in old California, and the touching, warm understanding between a beautiful Spanish girl and an Indian boy four years her junior. Brought to California from Spain as an orphan baby, Angelita grew up as a daughter in the house of her uncle, Don Luis, who hated her for the ""sin"" of her mother in eloping with a dancing master, to escape an influential marriage which would have brought wealth and prestige to Don Luis. Therefore, in spite of the gentle pleadings of his wife and Father Boniface, Don Luis imposed the strictest rule on Angelita echoing his harsh treatment of the Indians working as feudal serfs on the ranch land. But Angelita and ten-year-old Tomas, the Indian boy, although one is cloistered as an aristocrat, and the other subjugated as a slave, are still children, wistfully yearning beyond their restrictions to play and plan and dance. Although they offer each other sympathy through the constraints of custom, Tomas is finally able to help Angelita to escape from an unwelcome marriage as her mother before her, and marry the man she loves, while Tomas sadly escapes to the safety of the hills. A good story, beautiful conceived throughout, although the strong emotions and passions must be realized in their period setting.