A review by bookedbymadeline
What They Said About Luisa by Erika Rummel

  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated


Thank you to Netgalley and Dundurn Press for the eARC!

Looovee the authors note before the start of the novel explaining why she chose to write the story and in this way! Author is a retired history professor specialist in this time period which I love to see.

Story is told through the people who knew Luisa (or had contact with her rather). Not much is known about this real life woman, especially after her trial in colonial Mexico, so this was a unique way to bring her back to life during the aftermath. The book was really engaging and I enjoyed reading the different perspectives! Although we never hear from Luisa and I felt like we didn’t get enough time to connect to her or any other characters. The POVs paint different pictures of Luisa in a “gossip” style of storytelling so you as the reader can infer the truth vs bias held about Luisa.

The chapters are long and every one is from a different character’s POV, some of them were better than others. I hated Pedro’s chapter the most because he’s such a dick and a lot of his chapter was repeating everything that happened in the previous chapter.

I liked some characters more than others, for example I really enjoyed the chapter from Alonso’s POV (he worked for the Inquisition tribunal) he was really complex and had some thought provoking sentiments. I also liked Juan Diaz because his chapters painted a very well thought out setting/background info for Colonial Mexico (also he just seems cool)!

I felt like I got to know this time period and how people lived their lives in general. However I wish we heard from Luisa at least once. From the title and synopsis I understand not hearing from her and it’s a unique way to write a historical novel but it felt like Luisa was silenced in history and then once again silenced through the novel. Overall I enjoyed the book and will be interested in reading more from the author but I didn’t love it.

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