Monday, January 4, 2010

The Goldsmith's Daughter

Landman, Tanya. The Goldsmith's Daughter, 283 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2008.
Rating : PG for sexual content ; G for language and violence.
Itacate recounts her life from her birth that kills her mom and earns her an ill-fated prophecy until the time when her beloved city Tenochtitlan and emperor Montezuma are destroyed by Cortes. By the time her twin Mitotiqui is born, a new day has dawned and the gods smile upon him, earning him a favorable prophecy. With a heartsick father who cannot extend his love to either of his children, Itacate and Mitotiqui are cared for by their nurse, Mayatl, and enjoy each other's companionship until their sexes set them on different paths - Itacate to learn the skills of the hearth and loom, and Mitotiqui to study in school and learn their father's craft. When her father finally starts noticing her because of her skill at judging gems and designing pieces of art, Itacate escapes the confines of her limited domestic world, but evokes the jealosy of her brother and possibly the displeasure of the gods.

The historical context of this story is fascinating, and it vividly captures many aspects of such a time, such as a civilization that is ruled by gods who demand daily blood to keep the sun rising and gives half their population - girls - no voice nor role outside the home.
MS - Advisable.
Reviewed by P.K. Foster, MS teacher-librarian.

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