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Woman of a Thousand Secrets by Barbara Wood
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Woman of a Thousand Secrets (2008)

by Barbara Wood

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Tonina came from the sea: a baby found floating in a basket: A "gift from the gods" her adoptive grandmother told her.

She doesn't look like the other villagers of Pearl Island. She is tall, lean and light-skinned, and considered "ugly". Tonina longs to know where she comes from and what lies on the other side of the ocean, beyond her small island.

A cruel trick leads Tonina away from the protective cove of her family to a new land: the land of the Maya, where she embarks on a quest to find a mysterious red flower with healing qualities. A flower that she believes will cure her ailing grandfather.

Her quest leads her on an epic and dangerous adventure through the rain forests of the Yucatan, the jungles of Guatemala, and into the ancient land of Mexico. She encounters a new and different people and in so doing, discovers the mysteries of her past. ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
This book was engrossing, interesting and very well written on many levels. I loved the character development, drama, and the setting!!! I thought several times as I was reading... Hey, I have been to the ruins. She mentioned ( when I was on vacation with husband) and oh, it is the mayan people! and...I love books set in the past. I felt that the story ended well and I would love for there to be a second one! ( )
  KimberlyDuBoise | Jul 23, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a very enjoyable book by Barbara Woods, I have never read anything by this author so it is a nice surprise to find another author to look forward to reading.

The author did a very good job writing about ancient Mayan culture and legends. This book made history interesting to me. ( )
  sschleicher | Apr 5, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Having long been a fan of Ms Wood, I was thrilled to get this book from Early Reviewers. I enjoyed the story of Tonina very much and look forward to hopefully a sequel. I really liked the mayan history evoked into the book. Other than having a little too down pat ending I enjoyed the book and recommend it to historical fiction fans. ( )
  pjhess | Oct 13, 2009 |
Reviewed by Amber Gibson for TeensReadToo.com

WOMAN OF A THOUSAND SECRETS is a saga of one woman's journey in the New World, long before the Conquistadors' time.

Tonina, delivered to Pearl Island as a baby by dolphin spirits, considers Pearl Island her home, though she has always been an outsider. As much as she wishes she could fit in with the Islanders, there has always been something different about her, and the time has come for her to leave Pearl Island and find her own people.

Tonina's adoptive grandparents, Guama and Huracan, devise a scheme to convince Tonina to leave the island. They tell her that Huracan has an awful sickness that can only be cured by a mysterious red flower with magical healing properties. Immediately, Tonina sees it as her duty to find this red flower and bring it back to Pearl Island, curing Huracan, a man who has loved her all her life and given her a home.

While her journey is perilous and Tonina encounters villains and treachery along her way, she also finds friends and companions that she grows to love. From Prince Bal�m, an embittered ballplayer who has lost everything in life, to One-Eye, an unscrupulous dwarf who ends up falling a little bit in love with the na�ve and pure Tonina, every character is memorable and exceptionally developed.

Perhaps most significantly, she meets Kaan, a Mayan ballplayer who is a hero of the games, regarded more highly than a king or holy man. Since Tonina and Kaan first laid eyes on each other, there has been a strange bond between the two. Struggle as they might to fight their feelings for each other, their futures are inexplicably intertwined. Both must fulfill a quest that has been thrust upon them - Tonina to find the ever-elusive red healing flower, and Kaan, to complete a pilgrimage to Teotihuacan to pray for his wife's soul.

Bal�m proves to be an unworthy adversary for the ever noble Kaan and Tonina, and occasionally the twists and turns in plot bog down the pace of the story as opposed to enhancing the mystery and suspense. However, overall WOMAN OF A THOUSAND SECRETS is a tale of honor worth reading.

In a superstitious world where destiny is determined by the gods and any bad luck is evidence that the gods are unhappy, the Mayans spend the majority of their time appeasing the gods, to ensure a peaceful afterlife. Barbara Wood crafts an extravagant world of love and deceit, mixing history and fantasy to create a story of the same epic proportions as LORD OF THE RINGS. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
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Book description
She came to them from the sea, and to the sea they returned her... A story of sacrifice and survival in the New World.

Tonina lives an idyllic life on a small island in the Caribbean hundreds of years before Europeans discovered it. But she has always been an outsider among her people. Unlike them, Tonina is tall and lean and light skinned, and her origins remain a mystery. Her adoptive parents had found her floating in a basket in the sea—a sacrifice? A shipwreck? No one knows.

When Tonina turns nineteen, her parents know she must return to the sea so that the gods don’t become angry with the village for keeping something that is not theirs. Under the guise of finding a medicinal plant, they send Tonina to the mainland, a terrifying place she can't even imagine. They know, however, that they will never see her again. And here is where her adventure begins. It is a tale of survival and sacrifice, of luck, magic, intrigue, and danger, romance and betrayal, an epic filled with ancient lore, tales of bearded white men who sailed to this shore in giant ships, and discoveries of medicinal miracles in faraway places. But most of all, it’s the story of one woman's quest to discover where—and to whom—she really belongs.

This sweeping story of the undiscovered world before the time of Columbus is Barbara Wood at her very best.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312363699, Paperback)

The Bestselling Author of The Blessing Stone and Daughter of the Sun

She came to them from the sea, and to the sea they returned her. . . . A story of sacrifice and survival in the New World.

Tonina lives an idyllic life on a small island in the Caribbean hundreds of years before Europeans discovered it. But she has always been an outsider among her people. Unlike them, Tonina is tall and lean and light skinned, and her origins remain a mystery. Her adoptive parents had found her floating in a basket in the sea—a sacrifice? A shipwreck? No one knows.

When Tonina turns nineteen, her parents know she must return to the sea so that the gods don’t become angry with the village for keeping something that is not theirs. Under the guise of finding a medicinal plant, they send Tonina to the mainland, a terrifying place she can’t even imagine. They know, however, that they will never see her again. And here is where her adventure begins. It is a tale of survival and sacrifice, of luck, magic, intrigue, and danger, romance and betrayal, an epic filled with ancient lore, tales of bearded white men who sailed to this shore in giant ships, and discoveries of medicinal miracles in faraway places. But most of all, it’s the story of one woman’s quest to discover where—and to whom—she really belongs.

This sweeping story of the undiscovered world before the time of Columbus is Barbara Wood at her very best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:14 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Tonina lives an idyllic life on a small island in the Caribbean hundreds of years before Europeans discovered it. But she has always been an outsider among her people. Unlike them, Tonina is tall and lean and light skinned, and her origins remain a mystery. Her adoptive parents had found her floating in a basket in the sea -- a sacrifice? A shipwreck? No one knows. When Tonina turns nineteen, her parents know she must return to the sea so that the gods don't become angry with the village for keeping something that is not theirs. Under the guise of finding a medicinal plant, they send Tonina to the mainland, a terrifying place she can't even imagine. They know, however, that they will never see her again. And here is where her adventure begins. It is a tale of survival and sacrifice, of luck, magic, intrigue, and danger, romance and betrayal, an epic filled with ancient lore, tales of bearded white men who sailed to this shore in giant ships, and discoveries of medicinal miracles in faraway places. But most of all, it's the story of one woman's quest to discover where -- and to whom -- she really belongs. This sweeping story of the undiscovered world before the time of Columbus is Barbara Wood at her very best. -- from publisher's description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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