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Suzanna. By Irene I. Blea. ISBN: 978-1-888205-21-3 $23.95

When young girls quickly grew up to be old women, young Suzanna was raised by her grandparents who received a letter from Don Felipe Montoya asking for the child's hand in marriage. Don Felipe is old enough to be her father. He agrees to the abuelito's condition that he delay obtaining Suzanna as a wife until she becomes a woman, or until her thirteenth birthday, which ever comes first. The wedding takes place in the northern New Mexico village church on a weekday with only the necessary parties in attendance. Thus, Suzanna becomes isolated on Don Felipe's failing prairie ranch with her home-made rag doll, Cleotilda as her only friend. In two years Suzanna gives birth to two sons. The remoteness of the ranch is made worse by drought, failing live stock, Don Felipe's silence, his sternness, and sexual appetite. Economic hardship forces Felipe to seek work elsewhere. He migrates north securing employment on a Wyoming sheep ranch. The experience strips Don Felipe of his title and he is now simply Felipe. During his two-year absence, Suzanna successfully tends the farm, bonds with the two boys and wishes her husband never return. He arrives to announce they are moving to Colorado where he will work in a steel mill. Suzanna and does not want to move. Felipe beats her badly into relocating. Her grandfather sooths her bruises and agrees she must go with her husband. Suzanne was born in northeastern New Mexico before the territory became a state.

"The last child of a large Hispanic family she was raised by her grandparents because her parents feared they could not afford to rear her. She was much loved in her young life, and much used and abused. As she matured, she faced prospects she could not bear. Irene Blea, a native of Northern New Mexico, and a Ph. D. in Sociology, has the writing talent to tell Suzanne's story in a most engaging way, and she leaves the reader wanting more. Suzanne is a truly outstanding first novel."--Don Bullis, Author-Historian

"A well written coming of age story of a young Spanish girl tossed into marital domesticity by her grandparents. It is filled with vividly captivating details that just entices you to read on." --Sandra C. Lopez, Author of Esperanza: A Latina Story

 

Dr. Blea is a native New Mexican with a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1980, who has written her first novel, Suzanna; and has another in progress. Suzanna is the first of a trilogy. She retired as a Tenured, Full Professor and Chairperson of the Mexican American Studies Department at California State University-Los Angeles and now lectures for the New Mexico Humanities Council. The author and scholar is an expert on Southwest race relations, and has traveled internationally: Mexico, Costa Rica, Israel, China, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sicily, and Germany to deliver academic lectures, to read her own poetry, to teach, and research. Over the course of her extensive career she has written and published seven university text books, four poetry chapbooks, thirty academic articles, has developed & taught the first of many classes on U.S. Hispanics/Latinos with an emphasis on women. Two of her textbooks: Toward A Chicano Social Science plus La Chicana and the Intersection of Race, Class and Gender are considered "Classics" in her field. Dr. Blea has received many awards for her human rights work, scholarship, poetry and community service. In May, 2009 she was recognized by LULAC of New Mexico for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement.

 

 

 

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