Publisher: Atria Books
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Adult
Buy It: Amazon
When Josefina accepts an invitation from the Marquessa to come stay and socialize with the intellectual and cultural elite in her royal court, she is overwhelmed by the Court’s complicated world. She finds herself having to fight off aggressive advances from the Marquessa’s husband, but is ultimately unable to stay true to her marriage vows when she becomes involved in a secret affair with the local bishop that leaves her pregnant.
Amidst this drama, Josefina finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the intellectual nuns who study and write poetry at the risk of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition that is overtaking Mexico. One nun in particular, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, teaches Josefina about poetry, writing, critical thinking, the nature and consequences of love, and the threats of the Holy Office. She is Josefina’s mentor and lynchpin for her tumultuous passage from grounded wife and mother to woman of this treacherous, confusing, and ultimately physically and intellectually fulfilling world.My Thoughts::
I guess I am forced to admit it now. I tried to deny it for as long as I could, but it's no use anymore. I like historical fiction. Maybe even more when it is an adult novel opposed to young adult. I used to think I only liked very specific books in this genre, but I was wrong. Every one that I have read, I've greatly enjoyed.
I know not everything in these books are accurate, but I do think it paints an accurate portrayal of life in that particular time period. It's fascinating for me to read about a lifestyle so different, in good and bad ways, that was the norm for these people. I learn so much more from these books than I did in any history class.
Josefina's story was amazing. I read the entire time for some reason believing that things were going to end horribly for her. I haven't studied much about the Spanish Inquisition, but it horrified me in this book. Josefina is probably a better person than most people are today, and yet her downfall was her eagerness for adventure and her desire to learn. I don't even want to imagine living in a world that puts women on the bottom of the social ladder, and denies them rights that everyone should have. I was extremely frustrated when I learned that a man is almost expected to cheat on his wife ESPECIALLY when she is pregnant, but a woman can not even be looked at wrongly by another man or it is her fault. Even a women who is raped is the person to blame.
Josefina rose up against all of those things and was able to work her way through each horrible thing that was thrown at her, and in the end came out as a much stronger person. The other characters that we meet are interesting as well, some with murky pasts, and others with a murky present.
Overall I enjoyed this book very much. It took me a little while to get into, but once I was in it, the adventure was great. I would recommend this book to lovers of strong female protagonists, and historical fiction.