After his wildly popular novel, The Hummingbird’s Daughter (2005), Luis Alberto Urrea’s second novel, Queen of America, is an epic tale in its own right. Queen of America begins its journey where The Hummingbird’s Daughter’s tale ends.
Based loosely on his own family history, Urrea’s central character is Teresita Urrea, a young girl who has been raped, died, and risen from her own funeral to become the “Saint of Cabora;” a healer, medicine woman, and beloved by those surrounding her.
In 1892, she escapes from the Catholic Church (who shunned her shaman gifts) and Mexican Government when she is 16, leaving with her father to the border towns of Arizona and New Mexico. But she is followed by assassins from the Mexican government – driving the pair far into the United States.
During their journey, Teresita and her father travel from San Francisco to New York and even St. Louis, meeting all sorts of people – those in need of her healing, European royalty, millionaires and beauty queens.
From Kirkus Reviews:
“Mixing religious mysticism, a panoramic view of history, a Dickensian cast of minor characters, and political breast beating, Urreas’ sprawling yet minutely detailed saga both awes and exhausts.”
Although I didn’t read his first novel, there are differing viewpoints as to whether there is a need to read his books in the order written. Queen of America is a great story of the Americas at the turn of the century; its industrialization and spectacle given in immense detail. Urrea has done his homework, and delivered another great story.
Title: Queen of America
Author: Luis Alberto Urrea
Publisher: Hachette Group
Price: $25.99 US/$28.99 Canada