It's 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, of Spanish and Pima Indian ancestry, can't seem to live up to her mother's expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. To escape, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves. At a greater cost than she could ever have imagined, her dream of adventure in faraway lands is realized. 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 seductive 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, the handsome Spanish soldier hoping to win her heart. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Yakimali’s Gift is the story of 15 year old Fernanda Marquina, a girl who embarks upon a grand expedition in 1775. Fernanda, who is half Pima Indian and half Spanish, is in a tug-of-war between the desires of her youthful heart and the expectations of her mother. More than anything, she loves to spend her days on horse-back as she thrills from the exhilaration of feeling the wind in her hair. Her thirst for adventure is quenched when King Carlos III of Spain orders Juan Bautista de Anza to lead a party of settlers from Mexico to California. Much to Fernanda's delight, she and her family join the group on the four month journey. Along the way she searches her heart for answers to the many questions which consume her troubled mind. The greatest of which is the most pressing question of all; should she marry Nicolas, the Spanish soldier who hopes to win her affection? On her quest for personal discovery, Fernanda finds resolution as she unearths truths that will forever alter her former perceptions of her family, heritage and her own identity. Well researched and beautifully told, Yakamali's Gift is a literary treasure. Historical fiction buffs will delight in Linda Covella's depiction of Yakimali and the eclectic group of travelers who join her on her journey. Rich in culture, and resplendent with vivid depictions of the arduous trek embarked upon by these spirited travelers, Yakimali's Gift is sure to be loved by readers young and old.
What a great historical fiction! I loved the story. I did not want it to end. She is a great writer and had me hooked from the very beginning. I would love to see a sequel to this book.