What They Said About Luisa
by Erika Rummel
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Pub Date 18 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2024
Luisa Abrego, an enslaved woman in Seville, is impregnated by her master, then set free upon his death. With limited options for her future, Luisa agrees to marry a white man who wants to take her with him to Mexico, even though it means leaving her infant son behind in the care of nuns. The couple set off on a dangerous sea voyage and a perilous trek across unconquered territory, and when the settlers’ caravan is attacked by Indigenous warriors, Luisa is forced to kill a man in self-defence. Years later, still wracked with guilt and convinced she must atone for her sin, Luisa confesses to having made a promise of marriage to another man long before, in Spain. By the laws of the church this makes her a bigamist, a criminal who must be tried by the fearsome Inquisition.
Based on sixteenth-century trial records of the real Luisa, this novel is not just one woman’s life in fragments but a carefully researched imagining, told in the vivid, distinct voices of the Europeans who came into contact with her.
"A deep dive into 16th century Spain and Mexico, during the dangerous times of the Spanish Inquisition, superbly crafted by an experienced historical novelist. A must read." — PAM ROYL, author of The Last Secret
"Rummel’s whole novel is marvellous, full of wisdom, learning, and insight." — JONATHAN LOCKE HART, historian, literary scholar, and poet