Based on the legend of Urrea’s sainted cousin, the author uses historical fiction to bring 16 year old Teresita to life, during a period of violence and political upheaval in Mexico, near the end of the 19th century.
What I liked about the book: learning about Mexican culture, the civil war and some of it’s causes, Teresita’s early life and her relationship with her father. I am fascinated with the lives of saints, and was excited to learn that The Hummingbird’s Daughter would chronicle such a life, but this is by no means a religious book. In fact, it has a distinctly secular tone.
What I didn’t like about the book: The characters are really kept at arms length. Despite the abundance of drama in the book, I never felt connected to any of these people. I wish the author had included more background information because much of the culture and politics of 19th century Mexico eludes me. I felt thrust into the midst of it without reference, and it left me with many questions unanswered.
I have, on several occasions, tried to read novels about Latin America, and have never found one that I really enjoyed. I don’t know if something gets lost in the translation, or if I just lack enough background information about the culture and history of Latin America to truly enjoy what I’m reading. I will say that this novel is one of the better ones I’ve read, but I still can’t give it more than 3 stars.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006