She Had No Choice by Debra Burroughs

She Had No Choice is a family drama which originates in Sonora, Mexico. The year is 1918 during the Spanish influenza epidemic. The Ramirez family has already lost four children due to the outbreak.  Juanita and Emilio make the decision to give up the land and home they own in Mexico and flee to Arizona to save their family.

Once in Arizona, the family is free from the flu epidemic; however, life is far from easy. Work is hard to get for migrant farm workers and the family suffers. Juanita dies and Emilio is left with his sons and two daughters. He sends one of his daughters, Sophia, to live with his sister, Consuela, in Phoenix. He thinks she will have a better life. For six years Sophia works as a servant girl for her Tia and the abuse only ends with Tia Consuela’s death.

Sophia makes poor decisions regarding men. She ends up alone and pregnant with her first daughter, Eva. Her second relationship she is a victim of domestic abuse from Carlos, who continually beats and abuses her and her children for 25 years. She has a child almost every other year and her life is a living hell.

Eva’s life is not going as expected. She is abandoned with two children. She is determined to rise above her adversities while trying to help her mother escape abuse from Carlos.

Does Eva succeed? Does Sophia have any part in the plan? Does either woman find real love?

Burroughs writes with such intensity and you feel what each character is going through on each and every page. She states the book is inspired by a series of true stories. I feel this enhances the reader’s expectations.

The story ends in 1960 and I am hoping for a sequel!  Sophia and Eva, along with their families, have come a long way since 1918. I want to follow their lives and I have no doubt all readers who enjoy She Had No Choice will agree.

Book Review by Mary Crocco

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