“The Queen of Water” Review

A head shot of a woman with light brown skin and black hair takes up most of the cover. She is looking downwards with her eyes mostly closed. She is wearing a gold neckless with four strands of beads and a white dress. The authors names and the title are over her face. The left edge of the cover has a cloth pattern in green and reds.Written by Laura Resau and María Virginia Farinango
Published by Delacorte/Random House, 2011
368 Pages
Completed July 14, 2023

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her Indigenous community, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the privileged class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her home to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.

In this poignant novel based on her own story, the inspiring María Virginia Farinango has collaborated with acclaimed author Laura Resau to recount one girl’s unforgettable journey to find her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

This was a book I ended up reading very quickly because I couldn’t put it down until I finished. The story is fascinating with a lot of history. Virginia’s childhood was is sad but the ending of the book is hopeful for the future. I really enjoyed Virginia’s exploration of her background and rediscovery of who she is. At the end of the book there are authors notes that explain how this story came to be. María Virginia Farinango had always wanted to be able to tell her story and to have someone write it with her. The author’s notes should definitely be read after reading the book as it fulls out more information. The book is based on María Virginia Farinango’s life so it’s categorized as fiction – it’s not truly a memoir though a lot of it really happened.