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Irene Watson

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Gathering the Indigo Maidens by Cecilia Velastegui: Book Review
by Irene Watson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, October 03, 2011
Posted: Monday, October 03, 2011

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Paloma Zubiondo lives the life of one of the beautiful people. In her beachfront Mediterranean home that overlooks the bay in Laguna Beach, she collects Spanish Colonial art, rare books, and plays the philanthropist. Her life is happy, safe, secure, disciplined. Like the proverbial ivory tower, her home is a fortress against the world’s evils. Then Paloma’s peaceful existence is shattered by a ringing phone that turns into a hysterical female voice; the woman sounds identical to the indigenous nanny who had raised Paloma in her native land of Ecuador.

Gathering the Indigo Maidens

Cecilia Velastegui
Libros Publishing LLC (2011)
ISBN 9780983745815
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (8/11)

When rare art and book collector Paloma Zubiondo receives a disturbing phone call from a young woman speaking in her native Ecuadorian language, begging to be rescued, her peaceful existence is shattered.  Along with receiving pleas to be saved, Paloma is also accused of being in the possession of a rare stolen painting.  She is told that she can help this girl by giving the artwork back to its rightful owner.  Knowing that she carefully selects what she purchases for her collection, Paloma believes that she is being set up.  In spite of this, she wants to keep the authorities out of it because she doesn’t want any suspicion or doubt cast upon her reputation.

Until this phone call, Paloma has prided herself on living comfortably among her prized possessions.  Unlike most people who just see dollar signs on valuable works of art, Paloma looks at their intrinsic worth.  When she gazes upon her paintings, she is able to experience the feelings that the artists try to convey through their art.  To have someone accuse her of illegally obtaining items that she holds as sacred in her heart is a terrible travesty.

While living in her peaceful world, Paloma has remained aloof from the evils of our society. When this desperate caller tells her that she is being violated, Paloma is introduced to the vile world of the sex trade.  She desperately doesn’t want to be involved with this case, however, she cannot allow herself not to do anything, especially when this young woman reminds her of a treasured family employee from her childhood. 

As Paloma seeks information to vindicate herself from the accusations, she also learns more about how young women are being taken from their poor homes with false promises of employment and turned into prostitutes.  She discovers that it is a huge problem that has taken place all over the world throughout history.  Knowing that her own life is in danger, Paloma cannot sit back and do nothing. She has to turn to friends that she can trust for help.

“Gathering the Indigo Maidens” tells an incredible story that incorporates both the beauty and history of Spanish art into a modern story about the evils that come with greed in our society.  The author does an excellent job of taking us to different times in history where we can see that things weren’t much different even going back as far as 1699.  Lack of respect and abuse towards women existed then and still exists today.  By sharing this story, my eyes were opened.

While paintings which depict women don’t suffer physically, they do experience some of the same disrespect that the young women do.  Neither the paintings nor the women are seen as anything more than their monetary worth.  There is no humanity or appreciation for the beauty of both.  The exception to this is in Paloma’s eyes. 

“Gathering of the Indigo Maidens” is an exceptionally written story that is guaranteed to hold you captive and stir at your heart strings while you read it.   I highly recommend it, especially for readers who enjoy a mix of history, art and mystery.

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