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More Will Die Before the Violence Ends - an Editorial Review of "There Will Be Consequences"

Book Blurb:


It’s August 3, 1837, and rebellion has broken out in northern New Mexico. By the end of the week, Governor Albino Pérez and key members of his administration will be dead, and a governor with indigenous ancestry will be installed in Santa Fe.

Trouble’s been brewing for over a year, fed by new laws restricting the right to vote, the threat of taxes, and a governor who’s quicker to borrow money than distribute it. On top of that, he’s jailed the Santa Cruz de la Cañada alcalde for making a decision he didn’t like. The locals free the mayor and go to war, campesinos and Pueblo warriors against the ricos.

But the rich aren’t about to give up their privileges so easily. More people will die before the violence ends.

A deeply-researched biographical novel with implications for today, There Will be Consequences explores the events before, during, and after August 1837 through the eyes of people who were there. Twelve linked stories propel the narrative forward from the perspective of individuals as diverse as Albino Pérez, rebel governor José Angel Gonzales, Santa Fe gambler Gertrudes “Doña Tules” Barceló, Taos priest Antonio José Martinez, and that most wily of New Mexico’s politicians, Manuel Armijo.

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Author Bio:

The history of the American West is in Loretta’s blood. Her grandfather was born in Oklahoma Territory and spent his childhood moving west. His family ended up on a farm in the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula. Later, he cleared the forested land that would become the farm where Loretta was raised. After he died, she inherited a collection of first-hand accounts of the 19th century Pacific Northwest.

When Loretta moved to New Mexico as an adult, those reminiscences and her love of history went with her. In the Southwest, her interest expanded to include the many small towns, pueblos, and land grants she encountered during her 20-plus years as a public servant. Wherever she went in New Mexico, she was exposed to its tri-cultural (Native, Hispanic, and Anglo) experience and saw how much its past influenced the present.

After she retired, Loretta began to explore New Mexico’s history more deeply, honing the research skills she’d developed while obtaining two Masters of Arts degrees. The result is her Old New Mexico fiction—deeply researched, firmly and accurately set in the past, and brimming with historical characters. She posts short pieces about what she discovers at , as well as some short fiction, book reviews, and announcements about her books.

Editorial Review:

When Dolores enters the room, Antonio Abad is still pacing back and forth in front of the adobe fireplace in the corner and waving Governor Pérez’s letter in the air. His brother Desiderio sits in the oak armchair puffing his ridiculous pipe. Dolores sniffs to get their attention, but they’re engrossed in their conversation. She shoves the door closed with her hip and lugs her armload of shaggy churro fleece across the room to the woodplank table. “The man seems to think we’re all illiterate peones,” her husband says for the twentieth time in the past week. His booted foot scrapes the edge of the hearth. Dolores scowls at him. There’s already a scuff on the plastered wall beside it.

Loretta Miles Tollefson creates a vivid narrative in "There Will Be Consequences: A Biographical Novel of Old New Mexico," which vividly depicts the turbulent events of the 1837 revolt in New Mexico. This well-researched and gripping book gives us a thorough and emotional trip through a period of struggle and upheaval. This story serves as a profound analysis of a critical juncture in history.

Tollefson grabs the reader's attention right away with vivid images and a feeling of looming drama in the opening line. The first paragraph establishes the tone for a narrative that is rich in human complexity and historical detail. A voyage through a pivotal and momentous period in New Mexico's history is promised by this deft opening. Part of “Novels of Old New Mexico” this book takes us on a trip to the rebellion in 1837.

In this story, we see the events before, during, and after, through the eyes of twelve different people who are all linked through these events. The Foreword introduces us right from the start to the rebellion.

In early August 1837, rebellion broke out in New Mexico, thirty miles north of the capital at Santa Fe. The insurrection was triggered by the impending implementation of a Federal sales tax as well as changes to the Mexican Constitution, modifications that moved power from individual communities and placed it more firmly in the hands of the federal government, President Antonio López de Santa Anna, and New Mexico Governor Albino Pérez. The situation in New Mexico quickly turned deadly. By August 10, 1837, Pérez and over a dozen administration officials and military personnel were dead and José Angel Gonzales, a rebel of Native descent, occupied the governor’s office. It was the beginning of a tumultuous period that wouldn’t end until late January 1838, with the rebels dispersed and Gonzales himself executed.

The novel's strength is its ability to weave together several points of view, including that of rebel governor José Angel Gonzales and Governor Albino Pérez. Each of the twelve stories adds to a more comprehensive, complex plot that is interesting and educational. The book does more than merely retell historical events; it gives them life and immerses the reader in the drama as it plays out.

The book has a well-organized, well-edited structure that makes reading it more enjoyable. Each chapter flows into the next without interruption thanks to the layout, which makes for an immersive reading experience. You’re able to concentrate on the story without being distracted thanks to the meticulous editing and formatting.

Diego turns his head toward the rough-beamed cepo del reo in the center of the square. The elegant and well-spoken District Judge Santiago Abreú, is clamped between its rough-hewn grey-weathered boards, feet and hands. The top piece is so thick that his chin barely reaches the upper edge. His pale face tilts awkwardly to the right above the holes that imprison his wrists. Diego’s stomach turns. This is his jefe, former governor of New Mexico and brother to the prefect of Río Arriba as well as the esteemed Tomé schoolmaster José Cleto Marcelino Abreú. But still he is imprisoned like a common criminal in the stocks of Santo Domingo, his posterior supported by a clumsy bit of old stump, its sides wet with feces and urine. As Diego watches, Abreú’s eyes open. He shifts slightly, but he can’t move more than a few inches. His bare ankles are clamped tightly in the rough holes in the lower planks. The warriors have taken his boots. The pale skin looks almost obscenely naked.

Where the story is exceptionally strong is in the character development. She creates people who are convincing and multifaceted. Every character—whether fictional or based on real people—is given complexity and depth, which helps us comprehend the social and political dynamics of the time better. The novel's characters develop and mature in a realistic and captivating way.

The book keeps a great flow, with one section making sense after the other. This continuity is essential in a narrative that crosses multiple timelines and points of view. The author's precise handling of the interwoven stories keeps the tale interesting and cohesive.

It is possible to say that the book ends in a way that is both rewarding and thought-provoking without giving away the resolution. It gives the characters' travels a sense of completion while honoring the historical setting. The conclusion makes a deep impression and invites contemplation of the topics and incidents discussed.

The distinctive way that "There Will Be Consequences" approaches historical fiction makes it stand out. Using a variety of narrative approaches and a concentration on a little-known period of American history, Tollefson provides a novel and fascinating view into the past.

The author's skill is clear in her vivid depiction of 19th-century New Mexico, her beautiful style, and her attention to historical detail. Her evocative writing transports the reader to the period with vivid descriptions and real conversation. Tollefson writes with a mix of precision and poetry that makes the story seem more powerful overall.

"There Will Be Consequences" has a well-developed story arc with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Effective tension-building throughout the story leads to a dramatic and historically significant finale. The narrative arc depicts the characters' emotional journey in addition to the events' chronological sequence.

This book takes you on a thorough exploration of a crucial period in New Mexico history. Tollefson vividly recreates a past rife with strife, change, and resiliency via her deft narrative. This book is a must-read for everybody interested in the rich tapestry of American history and the craft of storytelling because of its amazing blending of history and fiction.


“There Will Be Consequences” by Loretta Miles Tollefson receives five stars and the “Highly Recommened” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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