Who Would Have Thought It?
by María Amparo Ruiz de Burton
Publication Date: November 30, 1995
Bind: Trade Paperback
Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita, professors in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego, provide a well-researched and lucid historical and critical framework in their introduction and notes to the novel.
Who Would Have Thought It? (1872), by María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, is a historical romance which engages the dominant myths about nationality, race and gender prevalent in society in the United States, prior to and during the Civil War. The narrative follows a young Mexican girl as she is delivered from Indian captivity in the Southwest and comes to live in the household of a New England family. Culture and perspectives on history and national identity clash as the novel criticizes the dominant society’s opportunism and hypocrisy, and indicts northern racism.
As in her first novel, The Squatter and the Don (1885), Ruiz de Burton reserves critical barbs for corruption in the government and United States expansion under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. However, it is in the recasting of the conventional novel of domesticity that Who Would Have Thought It? also addresses the disenfranchisement of women. Ruiz de Burton’s deft character portrayals and satiric style make for a highly readable and enjoyable novel.