From the ship's owner, Garzon Moreau, who is also on board, she learns of the perils and rewards of continuing south to the small coastal city of Montevideo and uses her small stock of money to invest in Garzon's export ventures. Like Isabel, he too is something of an outcast, albeit a wealthy one thanks to his ability to evade the Spanish Crown's import and export regulations, and to his skills as a smuggler. They both have strong reasons to resist a relationship that goes any deeper. Garzon is half Indian and well aware that the Catholic Church forbids mixed marriages. And Isabel is a fugitive with a troubling secret.
They join forces with an unconventional priest whose determination to save the native people from slavery impels him to leave the safety of his mission near Montevideo to establish a new one inland, on territory controlled by Garzon. Their partnership provides them with freedom from close scrutiny from the Crown and the Church, while forcing them and the Indians who join them on their new venture to make choices that will affect not only their own lives, but the future of the Spanish colony itself.
Praise for Tessa Bridal
The Uruguayan-born Bridal, now living in the US, is a writer to watch. -Kirkus Reviews
Bridal's understated prose permits large moments to occur without melodrama, and small ones to build into potent revelations. -Publishers Weekly
Bridal commands a style that is fresh yet restrained. -Minnesota Monthly
Tessa Bridal brings a fresh voice to Latin American literature. -The New York Times
Bridal...writes from a particular Latin American women's tradition that insists that the personal is political. ... Bridal's words traverse the landscape of the human spirit. -Revue: A weekly preview of Arts and Entertainment