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Set in Old California in the wake of the Mexican-American War, Ramona is two stories at once. It is the story of the love between a part-Native American orphan girl, Ramona, and Alessandro, a young Indian sheepherder. It is also the story of racial prejudice and the clash between cultures as California changes from a Spanish colony to an American territory. Ramona is the ward of Señora Gonzaga Moreno, who despises the girl for her race but honors the dying wish of the Señora's sister, Ramona's foster-mother, to raise her as her own. Señora Moreno embodies the aloof arrogance of Spanish nobility, hating both the Americans who dispute her claim to her vast rancho, and the Indians, whom she places in the same social class with slaves. Her only semblance of love is reserved for her son Felipe.Despite the Señora's machinations, Ramona and Alessandro fall in love, and eventually elope. But their life together is not an easy one, as they roam the Southern California searching for a home. Their many hardships cannot dull their love for one another, but they soon take a toll that changes their lives forever. (Introduction by Christine Dufour)
This was a good story. It's beautifully written, and well worth reading, although it does meander a little at the end. I would have rated it 4 stars if it weren't for some of the readers who range from very good to poor. I found the first reader so difficult to understand, I read the first few chapters on Project Gutenberg, rather than listen to her. She has a very heavy accent and reads very quickly, which is not an enjoyable experience. She doesn't read again until the very end of the book, where she reappears to read another couple of chapters. Unfortunately, she is not the only reader that's hard to take in this particular recording. I appreciate all these volunteers and the time they took to do this, but some of them really butchered their chapters. If this is the only way you are going to encounter this great book, then I would recommend you go ahead and listen- the majority of the readers are good. If you think you're going to go out and get a copy to read, I'd recommend that over this recording.
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