This book is a fictional biographical account of Dona Maria Gertrudis (Tules) Barcelo, Santa Fe's most famous business woman and monte (a gambling card game) dealer. Tules goes from rags to riches, encounters Manuel Armijo, the last Mexican governor before U.S. Army General Stephen Watts Kearney takes over New Mexico, and watches history as the Mexicans and the Americans fight for New Mexico.
Tules starts as a peon from Taos, works on the rancho of Don Manuel, then she and her mom are the only ones left alive after a Navajo raid on the ranch. She moves to Don Manuel's father-in-law's ranch to work as a peon, marries an ox cart driver, lives in a gold camp with him until he is murdered, and flees to Santa Fe. In Santa Fe, she loses the baby she's pregnant with, sells goods at the plaza in Santa Fe, meets the American traders who come over the Santa Fe Trail, starts business as a monte dealer at a hotel, then meets Manuel Armijo. Armijo is so impressed with her that he helps her set up her own monte sala (gambling parlor). She falls out of favor with Armijo, but doesn't lose her monte sala because Armijo is worried about the Americans taking over New Mexico. The American army, basically, saves Tules and her business.
The review of this Book prepared by Ann