Irene I. Blea was born and raised here in Northern New Mexico. She has long studied her homeland and it’s customs, as form chairperson of the Department of Mexican American studies at California University-Los Angeles she brings a unique prospective to her novels. The first in her trilogy chronicling the life of Suzanna, a young girl born to a poor family in northern New Mexico and the role gender inequality and religion play in shaping a young girl’s life.
The book is rich in description and details transport you in to the beauty and intensity of northern New Mexico of the past. Suzanne is a lovely little girl growing up in devastating circumstances common to so many poor uneducated women. The heart wrenching coming of age story of one young girl’s struggle to keep her family together miles from her nearest neighbors.
Speaking with the author she said the subject was not hard for her to write. She had many years in women’s studied and her own personal and painful experience to draw from. The trouble came in trying to create Don Felipe has a full character. “I just could not give him a full character sketch, make him real, until I had a 15 page Word conversation with him. This material never got into the novel, but I drew on it to finally get him written on the page. He was the most difficult character because I did not like him and he did not, via the dialog exercise, like me.”
The author’s descriptive writing style brings the characters and the scenery to life. The second book in the trilogy Poor People’s Flower will be released in mid February 2014.
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