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January 29, 2015

THE BAREFOOT QUEEN by Ildefonson Falcones


A Novel
Ildefonson Falcones

(from Amazon)
A romantic and thrilling historical adventure from the internationally bestselling author whose work Diana Gabaldon has called "Enthralling".

Spain, 1748. Caridad is a recently freed Cuban slave wandering the streets of Seville. Her master is dead and she has nowhere to go. When, by chance, she meets Milagros Carmona—a spellbinding, rebellious gypsy—the two women become inseparable. Caridad is swept into an exotic fringe society full of romance and art, passion and dancing.

But their way of life changes instantly when gypsies are declared outlaws by royal mandate and their world as a free people becomes perilous. The community is split up—some are imprisoned, some forced into hiding, all fearing for their lives. After a dangerous separation, Caridad and Milagros are reunited and join in the gypsies’ struggle for sovereignty against the widespread oppression. It’s a treacherous battle that cannot, and will not, be easily won.

From the bustle of Seville to the theatres of Madrid, The Barefoot Queen is an unforgettable historical fresco filled with characters that live, suffer, and fight for the lives of those they love, and for the freedom they can’t live without. 

Product Details

I found the book hard to read and rather lengthy. The setting is 18th Century Spain.   The author shows two strong women, living on their own, living as they see fit and standing tall. An African/Cuban slave, Caridad, has discovered freedom after her master dies on the journey to Spain.  She is left in a foreign place with no means for survival so what should have been a happy occasion turned out not to be. Caridad doesn't know how she will overcome the mocking by the local men.  She isn't sure about this questionable freedom. She has no choice, she must make a life for herself.  There is a gypsy community that became friends with Caridad.  She and another woman become friends and Caridad thinks freedom is what she deserved.  But, the ground shifts, happiness isn't to last long.   The gypsy group is not as safe as she thought.
 I don't want to say anymore about the plot of the book, but there were parts I didn't like at all. Women were next to nothing.  The crimes against them was appalling. I had no desire to go any further.  This was written as though women were nothing but slaves to  men.  No standing in society, nothing to look forward to and to me it was rather too much to take in.  I love historical fiction but I feel this one went too far on the demeaning of women.  I do give it to the author for all of the research that must have been done to write this book.  The book was just too long with way too much information.  The cover is lovely.  Once I saw the book, I thought how much I was going to like it.  I would recommend parts of the  book, like the ones with the historical fiction parts.  I did finish the book.  It was good historical fiction. It has a lot of hard things to swallow concerning women.  That was my reason for not really caring for the book.  The plot and the history are very good.  I just wish the author had been kinder to women.  I know that in the 1800's women didn't have much of a say in things and were treated badly at times, but I feel that some of the actions towards women in the book could have been left out.  I also feel the book could have been shortened somewhat.  Just my opinion.

I was given a complimentary copy of THE BAREFOOT QUEEN from the author, Ildefonson Falcones and Blogging for Books for my view of the book.

I would give this book 3 STARS.
The cover: 5 STARS.

Ildefonso Falcones is a lawyer and internationally bestselling and award-winning author of Cathedral of the Sea and The Hand of Fatima. With over 7 million copies sold, his previous work been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. He lives in Barcelona with his family.  

"Powerfully evokes the time and place."—Publishers Weekly

“Robust…Exciting…[This] multifaceted look at Gypsy life and morality is vivid and memorable.”—Booklist

“Falcones’ vivid portrait of gypsy culture—a proud, amoral and unabashedly sensual challenge to puritanical Spanish Catholicism—maintains interest as the plot twists on and on….Colorful…[With] a slam-bang finale.”—Kirkus 


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