Available in hardcover, paperback,
for your e-reader, your Kindle
and as a downloadable audiobook, read by Luis
In Spanish: La Hija de la Chuparrosa
Teresita is not an ordinary girl. Born of an illiterate, poor Indian mother, she knows little about her past or her future. She has no idea that her father is Don Tomas Urrea, the wild and rich owner of a vast ranch in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. She has no idea that Huila, the elderly healer who takes Teresita under her wing, knows secrets about her destiny. And she has no idea that soon all of Mexico will rise in revolution, crying out her name." "When Teresita is but a teenager, learning from Huila the way plants can cure the sick and prayer can move the earth, she discovers an even greater gift: she has the power to heal. Her touch, like warm honey, melts pain and suffering. But such a gift can be a burden, too. Before long, the Urrea ranch is crowded with pilgrims and with agents of a Mexican government wary of anything that might threaten its power." The Hummingbird's Daughter is the story of a girl coming to terms with her destiny, with the miraculous, and with the power of faith. It is the tale of a father discovering what true love is and a daughter recognizing that sometimes true love requires true sacrifice.
I worked for twenty years, on and off, trying to create this epic novel. I had to learn a lot of things. I had to learn Mexican history, revolutionary history, Yaqui and Mayo cultural history, Jesuitical missionary syncretistic history, family history. I had to study with medicine people and shamans, midwives and curanderas. That’s a big load of study for someone who didn’t much like school. But fortunately for me, I had all this juicy kind-boggling story to play with.
Teresita, aka The Saint of Cabora, was indeed a relative of mine. She was always presented to me, back in Baja California and Sinaloa, as my aunt. I hunted her story down all over the US and Mexico, and even found some interesting roots for the novel in France. I learned things in sweat lodges, in kitchens, in desert outbacks and tumbledown ranchos as much or more than I learned in libraries and museums. I even lived in a haunted house full of scary shadows. I don’t know that I’ll ever have the strength to undergo such a journey again.
Because it is, literally, my life’s work—particularly when you pair it with the sequel,Queen of America, I am very fond of the book(s). People from all over the world still write to me about Teresita, and it is very moving to me to think that my aunt is known in India, or China. Israel, Italy and France.
For all its history, I am no historian, I am a story-teller. My goal was to write a story, big and wild. Those who have a more cosmic bent can see embedded in the adventure a guidebook into the mysteries of sacredness. Here’s what every shaman told me: every moment of your life is sacred.
I want to note here that I have had many, many amazing book club chats over the years about this book. There is even a Teresita club in New Delhi. They have Hummingbird t-shirts. I can’t get to all of your meetings, but there’s always the phone and the Skype. Thank you all!
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.
Always happy to make my return. Details here.
Visiting with the hometown crowd in El Cajon. Details to come.