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Suzanna (Mujer Latina) (Paperback)
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When young girls quickly grew up to be old women, young Suzanna was raised by her grandparents who received a letter from Don Felipe Montoya asking for the child's hand in marriage. Don Felipe is old enough to be her father. He agrees to the abuelito's condition that he delay obtaining Suzanna as a wife until she becomes a woman, or until her thirteenth birthday, which ever comes first. The wedding takes place in the northern New Mexico village church on a weekday with only the necessary parties in attendance. Thus, Suzanna becomes isolated on Don Felipe's failing prairie ranch with her home-made rag doll, Cleotilda as her only friend. In two years Suzanna gives birth to two sons. The remoteness of the ranch is made worse by drought, failing live stock, Don Felipe's silence, his sternness, and sexual appetite. Economic hardship forces Felipe to seek work elsewhere. He migrates north securing employment on a Wyoming sheep ranch. The experience strips Don Felipe of his title and he is now simply Felipe. During his two-year absence, Suzanna successfully tends the farm, bonds with the two boys and wishes her husband never return. He arrives to announce they are moving to Colorado where he will work in a steel mill. Suzanna and does not want to move. Felipe beats her badly into relocating. Her grandfather sooths her bruises and agrees she must go with her husband. The truck is loaded with household furnishings and before the family crosses the state line Felipe stops for gasoline. During the trip Suzanna agonizes about leaving her children behind, but at a gas station she grabs a flour sack containing Cleotilda, a santo and a few articles of clothing and runs. Suzanne was born in northeastern New Mexico before the territory became a state. The last child of a large Hispanic family she was raised by her grandparents because her parents feared they could not afford to rear her. She was much loved in her young life, and much used and abused. As she matured, she faced prospects she could not bear. Irene Blea, a native of Northern New Mexico, and a Ph. D. in Sociology, has the writing talent to tell Suzanne's story in a most engaging way, and she leaves the reader wanting more. Suzanne is a truly outstanding first novel. Don Bullis, Author-Historian "A well written coming of age story of a young Spanish girl tossed into marital domesticity by her grandparents. It is filled with vividly captivating details that just entices you to read on." --Sandra C. Lopez, Author of Esperanza: A Latina Story.