The Turquoise by Anya Seton is set in the late 1800’s. Sante Fe Cameron’s name was a compromise, on the day of her mother’s death and her birth, between the Priest who gave her mother last rites and her Scottish father, a physician who had not embraced the Catholic religion and was distraught over the death his young wife. They settled on the name of the city where the Scott and his Spanish bride found a brief period of happiness. For the first seven years of her life, Fey, as her father called her, was taught both English and Spanish, learned to read, and was a happy young child. She had a special gift, occasionally she could see things that were of import in the lives of others. Her father recognized in this ability, the ways of her Scottish grandmother. He counseled that she use this gift wisely, years later a Navajo Shaman would repeat this advice. Orphaned at 7, Fey fell through the cracks, no one thought to check on what became of the doctor’s child, she was taken in by the serving woman who cleaned house for her father. This worked out well for the serving woman’s family, as she also relieved Fey’s home of all her father’s worldly possessions. An impulsive act sends teenaged Fey across the west to New York City with a man of flexible morality. It will take her years to realize she walked the wrong path and to face the dramatic consequences of her actions. Eventually she will return to New Mexico, to Mt. Atalaya, This is a fascinating period piece with a strong woman at its center.
— Deon Stonehouse
“With accurate historical background, Anya Seton has constructed a touchingly tragic story of a girl who tried so hard to find happiness that she lost everything in her search. The life of Santa Fe Cameron lingers long in memory.” — Springfield Republican
Santa Fe Cameron was named for the town where she was born, because her Scottish father and a distressed priest could agree on no other name. When she is seven years old, the unexpected death of her father makes her an orphan. Shortly thereafter, a Navajo shaman recognizes her psychic powers and gives her a turquoise pendant as a keepsake. This turquoise, the Indian symbol of the spirit, dominates her life. She eventually leaves the simple beauty of her native New Mexico to search for happiness in the opulent New York of the 1870s.
For “Fey,” life is made up of violent contrasts: the rough wagon that brings her East and the scented carriages waiting before her own Fifth Avenue mansion; the glittering world of the Astors and a dreary cell in the Tombs. All the color, excitement, and rich period detail that distinguish Anya Seton’s novels are here, together with one of her most unusual heroines.