Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau (Full YA Book Review)

There was that moment while reading The Queen of Water by Laura Resau when I finally tore myself away from the book to get some sleep.  As I shut the cover, I glanced at the author’s names and let a loud “OHHHHH” escape my lips.

The plot:  The Queen of Water tells the story of Maria Virginia, a Quechua girl living in Ecaudor, who becomes a servant for an upper class mestizo family while she is very young.  Virginia never receives any sort of pay, nor the promised visits to her family so whether she was sold by her parents or simply given away remains ambiguous.  The Doctorita is almost the “evil step-mother” type who beats Virginia and keeps her locked in the house.  The Doctorita’s husband, Nino Carlitos, is a seemingly kind father figure until his affections for Virginia and his jealousy of other teenage boys reeks of something more sinister.  In spite of her terrible situation, Virginia is vivisima (very clever), curious, and resilient.  Even though she hates the mestizos she serves, there is something, apart from their threats, that holds her back from escaping.

The moment:  So about “that moment” I mentioned above.  If you’ve read The Shack by Wm. P. Young you might have had this reaction too (except, with The Queen of Water it’s undoubtedly a real person and situation.)  You see, the book is written by TWO authors one of which is Laura Resau, whom I recognized as the author of Red Glass.  The other is Maria Virginia Farinango of whom I had never heard.  Maybe I should have guessed after reading the words on the cover “a novel based on a true story” – but then again, I’ve read a lot of historical fiction books, most of which are based on true stories.  Once I put together that the author and the girl in the book were the same person it made the story all the better.

Random Interesting Fact: An interesting note for Spanish students – on page 259 it is mentioned that the poor indigenas are scorned by shopkeepers and middle class indigenas and they show their dislike by not using polite usted form when speaking to the poor indegenas.  So instead of “Como estas?” (as to a stranger to show respect) they would say “Como esta?” (which you only use with close friends or peers) (of course, these would have accents, which I haven't figured out how to work on blogger =)

Overall: I loved this book!  I loved it as a story, but I also loved that it was a true story.  Even better was that Ms. Resau has so much information on her blog about her experience writing the book and time with Maria Virginia.  It is so interesting to have a book literally "come alive."
Ms. Resau's website: http://www.lauraresau.com/
Ms. Resau's blog: http://lauraresau.blogspot.com/

What I Took Away: In the last third of The Queen of Water, Virginia goes to a shop and finds a book Secrets to a Happy Life in which 
“the key idea is Querer es poder.  To want is to be able to.  To want is power.  If you want something enough, you’ll find a way to get it.  You have to be creative, think outside the box.  You have to repeat your dream to yourself, with complete faith that you will get it.  You have to envision your dreams as if they’re already real.”
Querer es poder is the way that Virginia eventually achieves her dreams.  She is creative, just like MacGyver – her admired television star – and works towards her dreams.


1 – This was mostly entertainment; I may have seen the characters learn and grow but did not do so myself.
2 – I may have learned a few interesting facts or life lessons that I’ll probably forget in a week.
3 – This book was informative on a topic I wasn’t very knowledgeable about and/or I learned a new way of looking at life.
4 – I felt like I learned about something I knew nothing of (and I will remember it) and/or it answered questions I had about life.
5 – This book was life-changing.


1 – No new words here.
2 – I might have seen one or two I didn’t recognize.
3 – A couple of words OR foreign language words.
4 – Lots of new words to look up and learn!
5 – There were new words every page, I sometimes felt they distracted and inhibited me from understanding the book.
(based on vocabulary needed for SAT or ACT tests.)


1 – Nothing to worry about, I would be comfortable reading this book to my mom, sister, grandma, or Pastor.
2 – This book may have mild violence or language.
3 – This book has medium content in several areas and is suitable for ages 13+.
4 – This book may have blatant content in one or two areas (violence, language).
5 – This book has blatant content in many areas.
(Please contact me if you would like to know specifics about the content and why I rated it a 3.)

Have you read The Queen of Water or any of Laura Resau's books?  What did you think of them?  Leave a comment letting me know, I would love to hear what you have to say!)


  1. What a thoughtful review! Thank you... I'll give Maria Virginia the link so she can see it too...


  2. I'm going to Ecuador in February 2012... Definitely planning to read this first! LOVED Red Glass too!

  3. Ms Resau: Thanks so much!

    mrsterrythomas: I'm sure you'll enjoy your time there! Definitely read The Queen of Water first, the culture may have changed some since the story was set but it might give some good insight.


Things I love to hear from my readers:
*Thoughts related to the post
*Thoughts not related to the post
*Grammatical corrections (if you see I used "your" the wrong way, please, feel free to go Grammar Nazi on me!)
*Books, music, and movie suggestions
*Offers of a lifetime supply of origami paper
*Doctor Who rants