Ines de Suarez was born in Spain where she married a charming man who abandoned her to make his fortune in the new world. Realizing that there was no future for her as a poor abandoned woman in her village, she traveled to Venezuela. She used the excuse of being a devoted wife looking for her husband but, in truth, she didn’t care if she ever found him. She worked as a seamstress and a cook. Eventually she met Pedro de Valdivia and became his mistress. When he decided to try to colonize Chile, she went with him.
One of my goals for the Travel the World in Books read-a-thon was to read a book about a place that I hadn’t read about before. I’m weak in South America so I googled historical fiction in South America and found this book. I didn’t know anything about the founding of Chile. Any books about this time and place can be hard to read because the Spanish were just so horrible. This book doesn’t gloss over the horrific treatment of the Indians. It talks openly about how the Spanish were famous for lying when making promises.
I found Ines fascinating. She did what needed to be done but what isn’t always considered important by history. She and her native servant talked to locals in each area they passed to learn about healing plants that grew nearby. They did the doctoring during battles. She had the ability to douse so they could find water. She is known for founding institutions. She started hospitals and other services that you need to make a city from scratch.