Yakimali’s Gift

Yakimali's Gift Front Cover

Yakimali’s Gift, a historical romance for ages 12 and older.

In 1775 New Spain, on a journey  from Mexico to California, 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Spanish and half Pima Indian, will discover not only romance, but truths that will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.

Scroll down to read the full synopsis. Read an excerpt.  View the trailer.  Read reviews.

PURCHASE: Email me for signed copies, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and at Bookshop Santa Cruz,  Kelly’s Books in Watsonville, CA, Books Inc. in San Francisco, IndieBound, and Walmart eBook, Walmart Paperback


Fernanda is interviewed on the History Imagined blog! 

YAKIMALI’S GIFT is the recipient of numerous AWARDS:

Gold Medal Yakimali's Gift

Seal of ApprovalGOLD MEDAL and SEAL OF APPROVAL from Literary Classics in the Cultural Issues, YA category! From their review: “Well researched and beautifully told, Yakamali’s Gift is a literary treasure. Rich in culture, and resplendent with vivid depictions of the arduous trek embarked upon by these spirited travelers, Yakimali’s Giftis sure to be loved by readers young and old. Recommended for home and school libraries.”

RONE Yakimali's Gift

RONE Award (Reward of Novel Excellence) Honorable Mention in the Young Adult category. From their review: “Yakimali’s Gift shines light on a little-known part of history and invites the reader to experience it first-hand.”

Booksand Authors award sticker

BooksAndAuthor 2015 Book of the Year Teens/Historical/Romance



Yakimali’s Gift was a Finalist in the prestigious Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction.

Historical Novel Society: “Covella’s extensive research into the culture and society of the Spanish-settled New World is worked seamlessly into a very human story.”

Let me sign your eBook! Go to my Authorgraph page and select “Request Authorgraph.”

For a signed paperback, contact me!

For other information, see Historical Info, Author Notes and Bibliography.

Story Synopsis:

It’s 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Pima Indian and half Spanish, can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. While she tends her garden, matches wits with buyers and sellers at the weekly market, and avoids Mama’s lectures and the demands of Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, racing across the desert, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands.

But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater cost than she could have ever imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.

On the arduous four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda can entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s handsome brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo–half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, who has joined the journey in the ranks of Anza’s soldiers and whose plans include marrying Fernanda when they reach California.

But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.

Fernanda’s story is one of discovery: her place in the Spanish world and in the Pima Indian world, her views on race and religion, her connection to family. And as a teenage girl curious about love and romantic relationships, she discovers that on her journey as well.