The reading guides suggest some topics for discussion. Wes will be happy to speak to your book club via video chat or to visit nearby groups in person.
1. What emotions would a seventeen-year-old boy have when embarking on a trip to the Rocky Mountains with seasoned traders and mountain men?
2. Do you believe Zebulon Pike (for whom Pike’s Peak was named) was a spy or was he lost? Why?
3. What conflicting emotions did the Spanish governor of New Mexico have when Lerocque’s party of Americans arrived in Santa Fe? Governor Melgares as a young man did indeed capture Zebulon Pike, and Americans arrived in Santa Fe in 1821 before Governor Melgares knew the results of the Mexican revolution.
4. Are you surprised that most, if not all, Native American tribes had slaves? Did you know that Cherokees owned African-American slaves? Why do you suppose the general public does not know about enslavement of Indians?
5. What was your first impression of Maria? What intrigued you or put you off about her?
6. What events caused Kincaid to change?
7. If you had been Kincaid and had to chose between allowing Maria to be sold into peonage or to join a slave raid to steal Navajo children to sell, would you have made the same decision Kincaid did?
8. In what ways were pueblo Indians different from the wild tribes? If you had to choose between the ways of life, which would you choose and why?
9. How was the system of slavery in New Mexico different from slavery in the United States?
10. Do you think that life in the villages of Santa Fe and Taos was pleasant? Why?
11. What did Manuel learn on his trip to St. Louis?
12. Many agents, editors, and publishers refuse to permit nineteenth century racial epitaths in publications. Do you thing this is good or bad for readers of historical fiction? Why?
I hope you select Santa Fe: Holy Faith for your book club. The book is scheduled for release in June of 2017. Here is a sample of questions you might want to discuss.
1. Crypto-Jews escaped the Inquisition in Spain and in Mexico City. What evidence could indicate they practiced Judaism while pretending to be Catholic?
2. Why did the Penitentes come into existence? The cover of the book is a photograph of an active morada, a chapel of the Penitentes. Why does it have so few windows?
3. Santa Fe probably had no more nor no less vice than most Anglo frontier towns. What is your opinion of how vices were represented in the book?
4. Has your opinion of what life was like on haciendas changed, and if so, what changed it?
5. In what ways did the government of Mexico institute destructive policies toward New Mexico, much as the Spanish government had?
6. Was the Santa Fe trade with Americans beneficial to New Mexicans or exploitive?