Title: Josefina’s Sin

Author: Claudia H. Long

Series: Tendrils of the Inquisition Book 1

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance

Publisher: Five Directions Press

Release Date: Aug 9 2011

Editions/Formats: 1st Edition ~ Formats eBook & Print


A thrilling and passionate debut about a sheltered landowner’s wife whose life is turned upside down when she visits the royal court in seventeenth-century Mexico.

When Josefina accepts an invitation from the Marquessa to come stay and socialize with the intellectual and cultural elite in her royal court, she is overwhelmed by the Court’s complicated world. She finds herself having to fight off aggressive advances from the Marquessa’s husband, but is ultimately unable to stay true to her marriage vows when she becomes involved in a secret affair with the local bishop that leaves her pregnant.

Amidst this drama, Josefina finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the intellectual nuns who study and write poetry at the risk of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition that is overtaking Mexico. One nun in particular, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, teaches Josefina about poetry, writing, critical thinking, the nature and consequences of love, and the threats of the Holy Office. She is Josefina’s mentor and lynchpin for her tumultuous passage from grounded wife and mother to woman of this treacherous, confusing, and ultimately physically and intellectually fulfilling world.

At the far end of the room, a door I had not previously noticed opened, and all fell silent.  Before us stood a tall woman, almost as tall as Manuel, with luminous black hair piled high into a complicated twist and held with glittering barrettes of amethyst and silver.  Her huge eyes were the same eerie jet, under perfectly arched coal-colored brows. Her skin was pale, almost ghostly, and she was so thin that her skin stretched taut over her aristocratically bony nose. She had a tiny, rosebud mouth that nearly vanished under the sway of her eyes.
The women curtsied; the nuns inclined their heads.  I knew what to do, Angelica having tutored me in that courtesy, at least, and I dropped into a deep curtsey before the Marquessa.  “Who is this?” she said, her voice high and thin. I looked up, knowing that she meant me. Angelica led me forward.
“Marquessa, this is Doña Josefina Maria del Carmen Asturias de Castillo, wife of Manuel Castillo.  She has come to pay her respects.”
“I kiss Your Mercy’s hands,” I said.
She laughed, a reedy, almost wheezing sound.  “Your Mercy? That’s for priests, silly woman.  
Call me Your Highness, like everyone else!”  

Claudia Long is the author of Josefina's Sin, The Duel for Consuelo, The Harlot's Pen, and Chains of Silver. Three of these take place in Colonial Mexico during the Inquisition. She lives in Northern California where currently practices law as a mediator for employment and housing discrimination cases as well as complex business disputes. She is married and has two grown children and one magnificent grandchild. 

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