Yakimali's Gift By: Linda Covella
"It’s 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Pima Indian and half Spanish, can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. While she tends her garden, matches wits with buyers and sellers at the weekly market, and avoids Mama’s lectures and the demands of Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, racing across the desert, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands.
But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater cost than she could have ever imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.
On the arduous four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda can entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s handsome brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo–half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, who has joined the journey in the ranks of Anza’s soldiers and whose plans include marrying Fernanda when they reach California.
But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself."
What a beautiful story that was well written about this Marquina family as they make their journey in 1775 from Mexico to California that dealt with the Spaniards and Indians. During this trips there will be hardships along this expedition a 'subtle history lesson' that deals with some well developed characters...[one being... Fernanda Marquina who was fifteen with her 'inability to accept the stifling constraints of her time'] while others [Nicolas, Miguel] to name a few who were so well drawn and believable that will gives the reader a rather interesting YA historical romantic read. The author did a wonderful job in giving the reader a detailed well plotted story in a visual way of actually making it is seem as though you are seeing the scenery descriptions [desert sand, beautiful horses]. The reader will feel 'the joys, family drama, emotions, choices, hope, friendship, death, fears and pains' of the read of its imagined reality. The story really presents a picture of how a teenager [especially a girl] could feel and in the end finding their way to make their dream come true. Now as this story all starts with the relationship with her mother and this is where this story will kick off and this is where I say you will have to pick up "Yakimali's Gift" to see how well this story is presented to the readers. Will Fernanda finally finds out about her mother's Pima heritage and will she choose whether or not she wants to be a wife? In the end will Fernanda be proud of her heritage and follow her heart and 'how to assimilate totally new cultures and concepts?' This was a good read that I would recommend to all!