Rain of Gold is a fascinating tale following the paths of two families forced to flee Mexico during the Revolution. It is a story rich with culture, family, and spirit. It is also filled with the tragic realities of a country torn by war, and the life of immigrants in the USA.
The author, Victor Villasenor, weaves the history of his family with humor and wisdom, capturing the vitality of his grandmothers, two very different and equally amazing women. The book is Villasenor's compilation of the stories told to him by his grandmother, his parents, and other relatives.
-partial spoilers following-
The story opens in a box canyon in the Sierra Madre mountains in Northern Mexico. It was a canyon rich with water, teeming with life, and sacred to it's inhabitants. It was also rich with gold. Lupe Gomez was the fourth and youngest youngest daughter of Guadalupe Gomez. Lupe's mother made ends meet cooking for the miners who came to work in the canyon. She grew up watching her beloved canyon steadily destroyed. When the gold dried up, the mining company closed down. Then the soldiers came. With no way to make money for food, and the threat of soldiers raiding the canyon, Lupe's family was forced to leave.
Don Pio was a colonel who fought the French alongside Don Bento and Porfirio Diaz. In 1869, feeling he had fulfilled his duties for his country, he set out with his two brothers to find a place to settle his family. He ended up in the highlands, Los Altos de Jalisco, west of Guanajuato Valley. It was here that Juan Salvador Villasenor, thirty-seventh grandchild of Don Pio and fourteenth child of Margarita Villasenor was born. By the time his eldest brothers reached adulthood, war had torn through their village. Margarita took her surviving children after her husband disappeared and mirgrated north, towards the United States.
Rain of Gold book follows these two families accross the Rio Bravo and into the United States. Here they encountered hardships of a different kind than the ones they had left behind. Both families were splintered soon after coming, losing members along the way.
Villasenor paints his characters vividly, in all their strengths and flaws. From the Barios of California, to the fields of Arizona, from a prison to a bootleg whiskey business.
This book is interesting historically, as a glimpse into Mexico during the Revolution and immigrants in America in the first half of the Twentieth Century. It is also an amazing tale of the strength of the human spirit, the ingenuity of the human imagination, and a love story to boot! I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in any of these things.