cover image Leona, a Love Story: A Love Story

Leona, a Love Story: A Love Story

Elizabeth Borton de Trevino, Elizabeth Borton De Treviino. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (151pp) ISBN 978-0-374-34382-8

``I am heart and soul with the brave men fighting for Mexico,'' says the eponymous heroine of this historical novel based on the life of Leona Vicario (1789-1842), ``and for freedom from Spain.'' Turning away from her wealthy Royalist family, spurred on by a legendary love for the insurgent leader Andres Quintana Roo and for her country, Leona endures tremendous hardships while bravely helping the revolutionaries, winning from the new government the title ``Heroine of the Independence.'' Newbery Medalist Borton de Trevino convincingly fleshes out a complex and lovable character, imbuing the girl both with sweetlynaive romanticism and the strength to live by her difficult political ideals--Leona is reminiscent of a Juliet, but has a soldier's mettle. Each reading mines a new experience of the period, as the author elegantly filters history through a variety of political, social and religious viewpoints. Borton de Trevino draws out the dramatic and moving from bare fact, and enthralls the reader by faithfully recreating the very real emotions of the time. Ages 10-up. (July)