Engle, Margarita

Rima's Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny

(2) YA This historical novel in verse, set mainly in 1920s Cuba, is an engrossing look at the protracted fight for women's suffrage there. The story is told through the eyes of Rima Marín, a spirited young girl (twelve when the book begins) who is denied any legal recognition or rights because she is a so-called "natural" child (her parents are unmarried). She and her mother and abuela live as squatters on her wealthy father's land. Rima resents her second-class status--especially when she has to be of service to her privileged half-sister. Former independence fighter Abuela has raised Rima to be the next generation of feministas on horseback; when she rides her favorite horse, Rima feels "God's / love of freedom instead of society's / belief in harsh rules." The three women belong to a suffrage club, but their efforts to gain the vote for women are stymied and delayed by tyrannical leaders and by the existence of repressive colonial laws. Engle's (Your Heart, My Sky, rev. 3/21) spare, lyrical writing and the believable human emotions shown through Rima's individual perspective bring to life the complex fight for equality and civil rights. A historical note provides background about the struggle for women's suffrage in Cuba, and a timeline puts that battle in international context.


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