Title: The Woman of La Mancha
Paperback: 354 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Fleur-de-Lis Press (May 5, 2014)
Author's Web site. http://www.karenmannwrites.com
Buy the book at Amazon
Review by Renee Roberson for WOW Blog Tours
The Woman of La Mancha is an epic historical adventure that spans ten years and follows the lives of Don Christopher, a noble knight of Spain’s King Philip, and the girl from a local wealthy family he is betrothed to from the moment she is born, Luscinda. Christopher is six years older than Luscinda, but they share a very special friendship as children and always knew they were destined to marry. Unfortunately, this plan goes awry when Luscinda mysteriously goes missing when she is 11 years old.
The story is told from the viewpoints of the two main characters—Christopher, and that of a young girl who wakes up in the back of a cart in 1583 with absolutely no memory of who she is. Christopher is heartbroken and spends more than a year searching the nearby towns and countryside for his beloved Luscinda, while the young girl with no memory is adopted by a peasant family and begins a new way of life, with the name Aldonza.
You will want to read this book for many reasons. The amount of research into this time period that went into into writing this is almost astounding. Details of how peasants and nobility lived, dressed, ate, hunted, spent their pastimes, etc. are all included in the novel. The reader also gets a firsthand look into the seedy underbelly of wants and desires of those who lived in 15th-century Spain, as the mysterious girl ends up living and working in a high-end brothel as part of her journey.
Over the course of the book both Christopher and Luscinda (who also takes on the names of Aldonza and Dulcinea at different times) are faced with many challenges and must look deep within their hearts and their faith to overcome them. They learn what they must do to survive, and are assisted by a cast of colorful characters and villains. I can honestly say that I was surprised by the mystery behind what caused Luscinda to disappear in the first place, and I could not put the book down because I wanted to know if Christopher and Luscinda would eventually find their way back to each other.
The book was written as a companion book to Don Quixote, as it tells the story of a woman named Dulcinea whom Don Quixote loved from afar, but readers do not need to be familiar with it to enjoy this book.
About Karen Mann:
Karen Mann is the Administrative Director of the brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville (spalding.edu/mfa) of which she is also the co-founder. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various anthologies. Her second book, The Saved Man: The First Century, is available as an ebook on Amazon. After having lived in Indiana most of her life, she now lives in California. Connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karenmannwrites
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