Ruth Ayres has been talking a lot about Laura Resau lately. One of her posts, led me to Laura's blog to see her writing trailer. While there, the cover image for The Queen of Water caught my eye. I quickly turned on my Kindle to see if I had bought it before, as it seemed awfully familiar. When I saw that it was indeed there, I decided to treat myself to reading it.
Since it had been over a year since I bought it, I could no longer remember what it was about it that had me instantly purchasing. Rather than reading more about it, I decided to just jump right in and start reading yesterday afternoon. I was instantly swept up in Virginia's life, spanning years of her childhood from a rural village in Ecuador to having her parents send her to go live with a mestizo family. It was hard to remember her young age (around 7 or so at the time but she was not sure of her birthday) because of all the responsibilities she had. Living through abuse and sifting through experiences back home and with the mestizo family, Virgina catches the attention of many because of her strong spirit. With each experience relayed I got to know her and her motivations better, trying to imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes.
Had I read information about it (or the words under the title) before picking the book up, I would have noticed that it as actually co-written with Maria Virginia Farinango and that it was not a work of fiction. Since I hadn't, I was in awe as I clicked past the last page and saw the background information about Laura meeting Virgina at a community college and the two starting on a six year journey to write Virginia's story. I smiled thinking back to one point in the book when things were looking up but then I thought, something is going to go wrong. I'm only at 51% and it seems like this will have a happy ending but like a Mexican telanovela it will have many twists and turns before she actually gets there without realizing that it was actually based on someone's real life.
I loved the exploration of identity, and the mixture of Spanish, English, and Quichua. Laura has some additional background, including pictures of the setting and of Virginia when she was a teen on her site. While reading the description of Resau's other books, I realized that I will have a hard time choosing which to read next. They all have hooks with travel and issues related to culture and identity.