Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, 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 ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds. ---from GoodreadsThe Queen of Water was based on a true story. Author Laura Resau collaborated with Maria Virginia Farinango who was the Virginia of the story. When Virginia was taken from her home she essentially served the mestizos family as their slave, though that word is never used in the story. When she finally escaped "her captors" as a teenager she had been away from her family and her culture for so long that she could barely remember her first language.
Against all odds Virginia, who taught herself to read, actually thrives as she takes control of her own life and education. The Queen of Water is an eye-opening yet inspirational story about a girl who grows up between two cultures but who ends up finding herself in the end.
The Queen of Water is an important book. It reveals much I did not know about the indigenous people of Ecuador and their racial problems. It was also a book full of hope and beauty.