Maria Del Los Santos y Duarte sat with her aunt Joaquina washing clothes at the mouth of the Hagatna River. Soon they are joined by Captain John Millinchamp, an Englishman, and his shipmate Matteo Mazarro. Unbeknownst to Maria, her aunt had agreed to escape to Bonin Island to get away from an unhappy and abusive marriage. The next day Maria was persuaded to accompany Joaquina on board the ship to say goodbye and was instead kidnapped and repeatedly violated by the sadistically cruel Mazarro.
Eventually, Maria decides to take control of the situation by protecting herself with a machete and threatening Mazarro. She will no longer be the victim in the situation. Instead, when he leaves to go to sea, she claims the house and garden as her own and works to improve her life. Soon after he sails, she realizes that she is pregnant and turns to her new family, Mama Henrietta and Hanna. Mazarro returns from sea and begins to change when his son is born. Maria even let him move back into the house and into her bed. Soon she is pregnant with another child, and this time Mazarro is very happy and wants to be involved with his new family. Sadly, he is also very sick with syphilis and only has a few months to live.
Mazarro’s death is a massive relief for Maria and everyone else who knew him. She didn’t mourn him at all and soon found love with a very upstanding man with whom she eventually had ten children.
Marjorie J. Hersom wrote Captive Bride after years of listening to her father tell the tale around the dinner table. She wrote the novel mainly to share the story of her ancestors with other family members so that they would be aware of their history. That said, as a memoir to share with friends and family, it is truly successful and does exactly what the author sets out to do. However, as a work of modern historical fiction for the general public, it doesn’t really work.
Hersom’s use of dialect is interesting in small doses. Sadly, by using it throughout the work, she risks losing the reader. It muddies the otherwise endearing story with unnecessary difficulties. A little dialect goes a long way and would serve the purpose well.
Overall, it is a lovely addition to her family story.
|Page Count||176 pages|
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