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When Sorrow Takes Wing

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Based on true events of the Cristero War--one of the darkest times in Mexico's history.

1927: In the wake of the Revolution, Mexico's Government bans the Catholic Religion. Federal soldiers execute priests in front of their churches and massacre entire villages of people who continue to worship. The people rise in rebellion against their own government. The women form the Joan of Arc Women's Brigade, which grows to 25,000 women strong between Guadalajara, Mexico City, and all the surrounding villages. They go undercover to obtain information and smuggle ammunition and supplies to the men fighting.

Mariana has a hardworking but idyllic life on a citrus ranch in California. She is sheltered and protected by her family and older brother, Emilio. That is, until tragedy strikes. Emilio is murdered. To cover up the crime, a powerful man has Mariana's family of seven deported to Mexico, a place she barely remembers. Her family is dropped off at the Tijuana border and forced to enter Mexico. Prohibition north of the border has caused Tijuana to erupt with new saloons, casinos, and brothels, earning the nickname Satan's Playground. Mariana's father heads to Guadalajara to find work, leaving the rest of the family behind in Tijuana.

Mariana's education and beauty give her many opportunities to help support her family, but she is overly naïve. When Mariana trusts the wrong person and disgraces herself, her mother ships her off to Guadalajara to find her father--right into the heart of the rebellion. Mariana has never spent a single night away from her family. Now, she is on a two-day train ride through the desert with nothing but a suitcase and an address. Will Mariana find her father before it is too late? Or will she end up dead along with the other 30,000 men, women, and children who died fighting for their freedom?

Editorial Reviews

"Kelly Romo’s When Sorrow Takes Wing takes the reader on a riveting journey through one woman’s experiences during the Cristero War in mid-1920s Mexico. Romo brings this tragic episode into sharp relief and gives us an unforgettable portrait of ordinary people struggling to survive, to practice their faith, to keep family at the center of their lives. The story is by turns tender, honest, shocking, and empowering, and the characters seem as vivid as if they were alive today. I can’t stop thinking about this book. I can’t recommend it enough."

---Mike Magnuson, author of THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB

"Kelly Romo has crafted an excellent novel. The book chronicles a working class family, the Castillos, who are deported on false charges. Back in Mexico, the federal government has closed the churches and priests are shot or hanged. Mariana, the vivid heroine, joins other women aiding the revolutionaries at great peril. I marveled at the womens' bold actions despite the dangers. These strong, brave women are unforgettable---as real as your fist. And this marvelous book is too. I'm recommending this splendid work to everyone I know."

--Craig Lesley, author of THE SKY FISHERMAN and BURNING FENCE

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