The Woman in Red by Diana Giovinazzo
English | 2020 | Historical Fiction | ePUB | 3.4 MB
Destiny toys with us all, but Anita Garibaldi is a force to be reckoned with. Forced into marriage at a young age, Anita feels trapped in a union she does not want. But when she meets the leader of the Brazilian resistance, Giuseppe Garibaldi, in 1839, everything changes.
Swept into a passionate affair with the idolized mercenary, Anita’s life is suddenly consumed by the plight to liberate Southern Brazil from Portugal — a struggle that would cost thousands of lives and span almost ten bloody years. Little did she know that this first taste of revolution would lead her to cross oceans, traverse continents, and alter the course of her entire life — and the world.
At once an exhilarating adventure and an unforgettable love story, The Woman in Red is a sweeping, illuminating tale of the feminist icon who became one of the most revered historical figures of South America and Italy.
I was eight years old when I was sent to school in the small trading settlement of Tubarão. But conforming was never my strong suit. I tried my best to be like my two older sisters, my hair in braids, my dress freshly pressed, but I couldn’t sit still and pay attention. Our one-room schoolhouse was small and stale. I could feel the thick, hot air in my lungs making me struggle for breath.
This was once the justice of the peace’s office, but the villagers’ children needed a place to learn to read. He got a new building and we got the old one, yellowed with age and adorned with thick cracks that climbed the walls. Everyone was happy.
We sat at our desks, four rows across, every child dutifully listening to the basic lessons that would allow us to take over our parents’ roles in the village one day. The teacher droned on, reading from a book.
Sighing, I looked out the window to where a cherry guava tree grew. One of the branches, thick with bright pink berries, bounced up and down in the morning sun. I leaned out of my chair to get a better look at what was making such a ruckus. The little black nose of a wild coati poked through the lush green leaves. I watched as the little creature carefully walked out to the edge of the branch, seeking out the ripe guava.
“Anna de Jesus! Get back in your seat!” the teacher yelled, snapping my attention back to him.
He grabbed me by the arm to pull me in front of the class and made me hold out my hands. I tried to rip them away, but it only caused his grip to tighten. He slapped them firmly with his ruler. The sting resonated up my forearms into my elbows. “Do not speak back to your teacher. You are a girl. You should obey.”
Hot tears stung my eyes. I wasn’t going to reward him; I bit the inside of my lip to keep from crying out. Blinking back the tears, I could feel the other students’ eyes on me. It wasn’t until a giggle rippled up from the back of the room that my embarrassment led to anger. I grabbed the ruler from his hand and started to hit him with it. I could see nothing but my hand gripping the ruler as it made contact with my teacher’s arms, raised in defense. It was the last time I ever went to school.
“What are we going to do with you, Anna?” my mother asked, red-faced, nostrils flaring like a bull’s. We were in the safety of our small home with its thatched roof and mud-and-straw walls, away from the prying eyes of the village. My mother was always careful with what ammunition she gave the town gossips. I sat at the table, looking up at her, fear making my stomach clench.