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"The Barefoot Queen" by
Ildefonso Falcones

        Caridad, a freed Cuban slave, is left alone in Spain with nowhere to go and no idea what to do with herself. When Melchor, a gypsy, stumbles upon her, he brings the woman home. Caridad makes friends with Milagros, Melchor's granddaughter. When Spain declares the gypsies to be outlaws, the community is split up, some of the gypsies are arrested, and everyone else flees.
        Although I thought this was a fascinating book, I almost didn't make it through. The beginning was extremely slow and it was hard to juggle all of the characters and story lines. What kept me reading was Caridad. She was such a well developed character. She grew so much during the story, it was just fascinating to watch. I would pick up another book by this author, but I don't know if I would re-read this one.


"Born Into the Children of God"
by Natacha Tormey

        Natacha was born into the religious sex cult, the Children of God. At first, the cult was a hippy, Christian, commune type group, and then evolved into a group that physically and sexually abused children. Beaten, raped, and forced to obey, Natacha and her siblings lived in dorm style rooms away from their parents. As she grew, Natacha struggled with her religious teachings, and her own sense of right and wrong.
        I really felt for Natacha, and the other children born into this cult. When and if these children broke free, they had no idea how to live and survive in the real world. I can't imagine the culture shock that they must have felt. Overall, this was a well written and interesting book.


"The Patchwork Bride"
by Sandra Dallas

        As June's wedding approaches, she becomes more and more uncertain of her future. Trying to escape, she runs away to her grandparents house, into the arms of her Grandmother Ellen. Ellen tells June the story of Nell, a woman who ran away from the alter three times and the doubts and fears that Nell had.
        I found the stories about Nell way more interesting than the present day saga with June. I think the book would have been much better if the author skipped the present day entirely. Despite this, it was well written and engaging. 3 out of 4 stars.


"She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story"
by Rhonda Cornum & Peter Copeland

        Rhonda, a flight surgeon, leaves her teenage daughter, in order to fight in the Gulf War. When her helicopter is shot down during a rescue mission, she is taken prisoner. This is the story of her time as a POW, interspersed with how she came to be a doctor, and Army officer.
        This was a well-written and engaging story. It was hard to put down at times, as I worried what would happen, and how Rhonda and her fellow POW's would survive. I do wish that the alternating story was also told in chronological order. Instead, it skipped from childhood to college, to childhood, to marriage, it was really all over the place. Despite this criticism, I would highly recommend this book.