Harry Freirmuth's Lo! Jacaranda: A Spanish Gypsy's Conte Jondo (Deep Song of the Caves) a novella set in the 1760s follows the life of Jacaranda, a privileged young Spanish woman.When the Spanish Inquisition reveals her gypsy heritage, she is ordered to be burned at the stake.
In this simply told tale we follow Jacaranda as she passes through the prison system then escapes on a boat to America but is then sold as a slave. She's bought by a missionary who sets her free and employs her on his mission.
Though simple, the story offers many insights into the way of life of gypsies and native Americans and their relationships with the church and other communities. In some senses parallels are drawn between the experiences of the gypsy communities with that of the native Americans.
There are some lovely descriptions of the natural world:
It was spring. Some fields were covered in a waving display of bright yellow mustard plant blossoms. As we passed through the welcome shade of an oak forest, I could see patches of yellow poppies. The next hillside would be a spread of brught blue lupine.
The book is beautifully illustrated with Freiermuth's own gorgeous, atmospheric oil and watercolour paintings of the natural world.(The best part of the book for me).
Lo! Jacaranda by Harry Freiermuth, published by Trafford.
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book.