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 Sub-par historical romance about a royalist turned revolutionary during the Mexican revolution. Carmen Rangel, daughter of a Spanish officer and a native woman, is brought up in wealth and privilege on noble Don Esteban's hacienda. She grows into womanhood oblivious of the Mexican natives' harsh plight until she is left on the hacienda while Don Esteban is away and witnesses Spanish soldiers' brutality toward an Indian revolutionary. Carmen is also wounded, as is Coalter Owens, a North American rancher with whom she has fallen in love. With the help of a black slave, Carmen and Coalter make their way to the seat of the revolution, where they meet Father Hidalgo, Captain Allende, and their followers, who nurse the couple back to health. Both are won over to the revolutionaries' cause, Carmen in part by her respect for Father Hidalgo, in part by her anger at discovering that Don Esteban, not his aide Rangel, is her real father. The pair takes up arms against the Spanish, and a series of battles follows until the revolutionaries are led into a trap by one of their own officers. Coalter is left for dead; Carmen is taken into Spanish custody; Allende and Father Hidalgo are shot. Carmen escapes with the help of Spanish soldiers sympathetic to her cause and returns to the hacienda, where she reconciles with Don Esteban and gives birth to Coalter's child. She leaves the baby to be raised by Don Esteban and goes to Texas to continue the fight for freedom; not until many years later are she, Coalter, and their daughter finally reunited. First-novelist Ju†rez all but ruins the story's historical element by giving her heroine/narrator such a simplistic understanding of events. A heavy-handed, poorly plotted debut.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55885-124-0
Page count: 334pp
Publisher: Arte Público
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995