Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
It’s 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Pima Indian and half Spanish, can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. While she tends her garden, matches wits with buyers and sellers at the weekly market, and avoids Mama’s lectures and the demands of Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, racing across the desert, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands.
But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater cost than she could have ever imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.
On the arduous four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda can entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s handsome brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo–half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, who has joined the journey in the ranks of Anza’s soldiers and whose plans include marrying Fernanda when they reach California.
But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.
Praise for Yakimali’s Gift
“Linda Covella brings the early settlement of California to life in this tale of adventure, drama, romance, and mystery…The novel is full of imagination and wisdom and speaks to the universal need of young people to rebel and to find the courage to invent their own lives.” – Dr. Virginia M. Bouvier, author of Women and the Conquest of California
“Yakimali’s Gift is written for the young, the old, and everyone in between. It’s about a young girl named Fernanda, and her adventure in 1775, when King Carlos III of Spain ordered Juan Bautista de Anza to lead an expedition of settlers from Mexico to California. This book is written with such detail I felt like I could reach out and touch the desert sand, or pet the beautiful horses:) The other characters in this book are just as wonderful as Fernanda. You can’t help but feel their pain or smile when there happy. Linda is an excellent writer, she grabs you from the beginning and takes you on an exciting adventure. This is a story you can read and then pass along to your daughter, that means a lot to me as my thirteen year-old usually can’t read the books I’m asked to review. I recommend this book to everyone!” ~Tanya Watt, reviewer/designer
Quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award:
“The dialogue, character development, and historical details all serve the story and come together seamlessly…Although tagged as Young Adult…would also appeal to adult readers.”
~Amazon ABNA Judge
“Clear and imaginative writing…Excellent eye for descriptive detail. I am feeling a very strong sense of place as you describe the scenes…”
~Amazon ABNA Judge
About the Author
Linda Covella’s varied job experience and education (associate degrees in art, business and mechanical drafting & design, a BS degree in Manufacturing Management) have led her down many paths and enriched her life experiences. But one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.
A writer for over 30 years, her first official publication was a restaurant review column in a local newspaper, and as a freelance writer, she continued to publish numerous articles in a variety of publications. But when she published articles for children’s magazines (“Games and Toys in Ancient Rome” and “Traveling the Tokaido in 17th Century Japan,” in Learning Through History magazine, and “Barry’s Very Grown Up Day” in Zootles magazine), she realized she’d found her niche: writing for children. She wants to share with kids and teens her love of books: the worlds they open, the things they teach, the feelings they express.
Yakimali’s Gift, a historical novel for young adults published by Astraea Press, and middle grade paranormal The Castle Blues Quake published by Beau Coup Publishing are her first novels.
No matter what new paths she may travel down, she sees her writing as a lifelong joy and commitment.
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