“Author Cecilia Velástegui, who was born in Ecuador, raised in California and France, and holds a graduate degree from the University of Southern California, has crafted a compelling psychological thriller similar to those of Dan Brown in its use of religious and historical symbols. She has capably integrated some of the most pressing issues of our time into her story, and her voice—as she touches upon injustice toward women and the fate of trafficked girls and undocumented workers—is strong and compassionate.

Velástegui has handled first-person narrative quite well, giving her protagonist a penetrating and detail-oriented mind and shifting viewpoints when necessary to carry the plot. Her characters, especially Jen and Montserrat, are strong and believable.”


“This meticulously researched historical novel alternates between Paloma’s art investigations and the lives of historical figures from centuries past, all connected by paintings of the Virgin Mary. One such chapter follows 17th century Ecuadorian artist Isabel Santiago as she struggles to overcome the shadow of her father, the celebrated painter Miguel de Santiago. The novel includes many charming minor characters, such as Isabel’s devoted servant Shining Star, who struggles with the inequities of a class-based society that labels her a “little mongrel.”

“…the author shows a talent for period details, sparkling dialogue and vivid characters that bring her story to life…richly rendered.”


“Well-researched historical chapters shed light on South American colonial history through the stories of Latina women involved in art and publishing, their lives all tied together by paintings and illustrations of the Virgin Mary.”


“Gathering the Indigo Maidens tells an incredible story that incorporates both the beauty and history of Spanish art into a modern story about the evils that come with greed in our society. The author does an excellent job of taking us to different times in history where we can see that things weren’t much different even going back as far as 1699. Lack of respect and abuse towards women existed then and still exists today. By sharing this story, my eyes were opened…is an exceptionally written story that is guaranteed to hold you captive and stir at your heart strings while you read it. I highly recommend it, especially for readers who enjoy a mix of history, art and mystery.”