Agustina de Aragón

Written by Gail Meath
Review by Vicki Kondelik

Agustina de Aragón tells the story of Agustina Saragossa, a real-life Spanish heroine of the Napoleonic Wars. Agustina, the daughter of a bladesmith, would rather be working with her father than helping her mother around the house. She visits the barracks to listen to the latest news about the war between Britain and France. One day she meets Sergeant Juan Roca. Although she dislikes Juan at first, she soon discovers that they share a passionate love of their country, and sympathizes with him because his whole family has been killed by the French. Juan and Agustina fall in love and marry. When Napoleon invades Spain, Agustina fights at her husband’s side at the siege of Zaragoza, where she ignites a cannon and fires at the French troops. Her action inspires the Spanish army to fight back. Later, Juan joins a troop of guerrilla fighters, while Agustina becomes a commissioned officer in the Spanish army—the first woman to be so honored.

Gail Meath introduces the reader to this amazing woman, often called the Spanish Joan of Arc. I had not known about her before, and Meath made me want to read more. The novel contains thrilling, but not terribly graphic, battle scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat. Meath writes compellingly, and makes the reader sympathize with Agustina, who is an incredible heroine. She is courageous and passionate, with a great love for her family and country. The novel is also a wonderful love story, and you can read it for that alone, but above all it is a story of a remarkable, brave woman who fought for her country’s freedom. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to read about a heroine who, sadly, is not as well-known as she should be.