The Barefoot Queen

The Barefoot Queen

A Novel

Book - 2014
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Facing homelessness after the death of her master, Cuban former slave Caridad becomes a freedom fighter at the side of rebellious gypsy Milagros Carmona, with whom she confronts increasingly hostile elements in mid-eighteenth-century Madrid.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2014].
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780804139489
Characteristics: 647 pages ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Lethem, Mara - Translator


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Jun 09, 2019

4 1/2 star read. Ildefonso Falcones is the author of one of my favourite books of all time, "Cathedral of the Sea". He writes wonderful and complex historical fiction. This book is a weighty one, at well over 600 pages, but it held my interest with the different story lines of the very strong women who were the focus of the novel. In Spain in the mid-1700's, Caridad, a negro woman who was once a field slave in Cuba, arrives in Spain, newly freed by her master on the ship that brought her there. Caridad meets Milagros, a young gypsy girl and they become fast friends. Life is harsh for women in those days and especially so for a negro woman and a gypsy woman. When the King orders a round up of all the gypsies and imprisons those who are found, this action has an effect on the two women and all they love. They go in different directions and the hardships they endure, separately, strengthen them. This book brings history to life in that period in Spain and it is easy to become engrossed in the lives that the women led then, powerless, at the mercy of men, without a will of their own, property of a man. But the will to survive and overcome is strong in both of them and their belief in freedom unites them. A very strong and powerful read. I really enjoyed this book.

Apr 27, 2016

Brilliant! Best historical fiction I have read in a long time. The book focuses on the lives and hardships of a handful of Gypsies and the former black slave they take in. Colorful with a great ending I really enjoyed sinking into 18th century Spain.


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