Rosary Without Beads

Written by Diana Holguin-Balogh
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

With no rosary beads, young Ambrosia Salazar must pray with empty fingers. Ambrosia is a young Catholic girl of Mexican descent living in the turbulent 1870s, where powerful men in Lincoln County, New Mexico, are facing off against each other for land and power. Promised to eventually marry a neighbor, Ambrosia must care for her mentally challenged younger sister because her older sister has run away to a brothel. Ambrosia falls for young William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, after he arrives at her family’s sheep farm and helps her father with farm chores. Upon learning he is one of the hired guns in the Lincoln County War, she tries to become involved in Billy’s life and protect him from being killed.

This novel is an interesting concept regarding the life of Billy the Kid. The story centers around young Ambrosia and her family and paints a rather tame picture of the outlaw. Although it’s a fictional account of Billy the Kid while embroiled in the Lincoln County War, the historical references appear accurate. The author has a masterful command of the era’s social customs: the sheep farming and the conflicts between the Mexicans and Americans living in New Mexico during this time period.