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The Spanish Tutor: A Novel taking place during the Mexican Revolution

Anne Marie Stanhope, a young American woman – motherless since the age of three – is summoned to Mexico City by her estranged father, Chesterton Stanhope, where she has been promised in marriage to Frederick Von Alt, the son of her father's business partner. As it is 1910 and women were not equipped to independently earn a living, Anne Marie dutifully arrives in the capital, although she is frustrated by her father's hesitancy to formally introduce her to her future husband. Disconcerted by her inability to speak the Spanish language, her father engages a tutor, Miguel Ruiz, -- an affluent sophisticate whose politics are in direct opposition of his social stature. Enamored by Miguel Ruiz, although betrothed to Frederick, Anne Marie eventually learns that she has actually been brought to Mexico for another purpose, and she does not want part of it. Eluding her father, she accidently finds herself sheltered in a house of prostitution under the protection of a kind madame who is acquainted with her father and Miquel Ruiz. The Revolution commences and circumstances lead the tutor to the madame's house where he enlists her assistance in helping Anne Marie escape the fate planned by her father. An insurgent attacks have escalated, the tutor agrees to accompany Anne Marie to a home in Cuernavaca owned by a trusted friend of the madame. While there, Anne Marie ultimately learns the truth about her mother's untimely death from a former contact of her father and comes to realize that she has only one person on whom she can truly rely: Miquel Ruiz.

A proponent of the poor and landless peasants, Miguel is commissioned by an old friend to plan strategies for insurgents operating in the northern part of Mexico. After he and Anne Marie trek north, Miquel learns that he will be involved in planning strategies and raids not only for his compatriot, but also for one of Mexico's most infamous desperados, Francisco Pancho Villa. Now lovers and committed to each other, Anne Marie blindly accepts Miquel's calling. Eventually, she is presented with a young Indian maid recued in one of Villa's raids. Unaware of the pillaging, raping and shooting that Villa and his men have been conducting in the name of freedom and justice, she is inadvertently exposed to Villa's devastation while seeking medical attention at another village. Pleading with Miquel to stop this carnage, he passionately convinces her that he is only planning strategies. Perceiving the intensity of his fervor, Anne Marie realizes that she cannot dissuade Miquel. After overhearing his plans for a raid by Villa's men on a nearby hacienda, now under the charge of an American Army major assisting the Mexican government in its attempt to diffuse and quell insurgent uprisings, Anne Marie is torn between her loyalty to Miquel and to a United States citizen in imminent danger of attack and death by Villa's insurgents. She decides to help the Army major and sends word to the village via her maid. Her decision led to an unexpected consequence and changed her life forever.

--Beverly A. Mile

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