Fantastic! EXPLOSIVE! Stunning!! I never wanted this powerfully moving, historical tale of gypsy tradition and struggle to end. Absolutely LOVED The Barefoot Queen!! Ildefonso Falcones is a brilliant storyteller and this beautiful story is most definitely one of the BEST books I've ever read. Seriously! Falcones has enlightened me about the Triana gypsy society that fought constant discrimination, racial injustice, capture, and enslavement during the religious fervor of the Spanish Inquisition.
In 1749, gypsies were rounded up, arrested, and imprisoned just for being a gypsy. Men, women, and children were persecuted and sentenced without a fair trial, often receiving the death penalty for various crimes. A proud and loyal people, the Triana Gypsies persevered and were eventually pardoned for the crime of being born a gypsy by King Charles III, fourteen years after the initial roundup. The gypsies, along with the Moors and Blacks, were the most persecuted, detested people in Spain. But they never stopped fighting for their freedom and traditions. The Barefoot Queen is the fictional account of two prominent Gypsy families that lived in the San Miguel alley of Triana. With a long standing fued between the two clans, fueled by hatred and steeped in tradition, troubles soon escalte when El Galeote returns to the San Miguel alley with the beautiful Cuban Negress, Caridad.
Young and beautiful, Milagros is the flirtatious, rebellious granddaughter of Melchor Vega, the legendary El Galeote, and the daughter of the proud Ana Vega and Jose' Carmona. A close friendship develops between Milagros and Caridad and the two become inseperable. After Caridad, recently freed from slavery, shares her painful past with her friend, Milagros seeks revenge for the suffering Caridad endured at the hands of a local potter. This misguided action will trigger a chain reaction of misfortune, vengeance, and greed. Caridad will be blamed for the actions and Milagros will be punished and banished from the alley and her family. The government will seperate family further. Some manage to escape, only to make costly decisions and freedom comes with a heavy price.
An EPIC story, a book filled to the brim with everything one could possibly wish for in a beloved favorite.
*Thanks to Blogging for Books for sending me this gorgeous ARC in exchange for a review. I am forever grateful!!
Ildefonso Falcones is an internationally bestselling, award-winning author of Cathedral of the Sea and The Hand of Fatima. With more than seven million copies sold, his previous work has been translated into more than forty languages worldwide.