In Her Own Words – Gabriella Deza of Indian Summer

Who are you?

I am Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of Governor Ferdinand Deza.

What is your story?

I haven’t much of one yet, I’m only just 15, but what there is of it is told in Indian Summer.

Where and when do you live?

I live in the village of St. Augustine, Florida territory. The year is 1739.

Are you the hero of your own story?

Me a hero? Heavens, no! That would be Manuel Enriques, my father’s aid du camp and the love of my life.

What is your problem in the story?

Quite by chance, I found out a terrible secret. A British spy is trying to overthrow my father, capture the fort and take over the town!

How does the author see you?

Headstrong, demure, capable, passionate, honest, loving. I am these things and ever so much more.

What do you think of yourself?

I think I am all those things and more. For one so young, my life suddenly became rather complicated.

Do you have a hero?

My father, Manuel and Sailfish are my heroes. They are all so brave and noble. Though, in their own way, all men are heroes, don’t you think?

Do you have any special strengths?

My faith in God is my greatest strength. My faith has seen me through very trying times. I would not be the woman I am without it.

Do you have any special weaknesses?

My passion for Manuel is nearly my undoing. All he need do is look at me and I go weak in the knees.

What do you believe?

I believe in God and I believe in the love of Manuel and my family. I also believe in my own abilities to cope with any situation life presents.

What makes you happy?

Many things make me happy, but when Manuel kisses me, I can’t think of anything but how happy I am. There is only one thing which would make me happier, and that would be to marry him.

What do you regret?

That I with all my education, I never learned how to shoot a pistol.

Has anyone ever betrayed you?

Yes, the man who spies on us, using our friendship against us. He betrays me, my family and my home. I hope I have a hand in bringing him to justice.

What was your childhood like?

Delightful in so many ways, but also sad because we lost Mama when I was five and Grandmama not long after. However, Papa and his new wife, Clara, have provided a loving home for the four of us. My older sisters, little brother and I have lived in relative comfort our entire lives.

Who was your first love?

My first and only love is Manuel. I never realized how much he loves me nor I him, until he declared his love for me on my birthday. He is the most magnificent man alive and I love him more than my own life.

What is your most prized possession? Why?

My peso necklace, because Manuel gave it to me. Though my parents gave me pearls for my birthday, the peso shows Manuel’s love for me. He can’t ask me to marry him, it wouldn’t be proper, but that shows each of us our promise to wed.

What is your favorite color? Why?

Apple green, because it was Mama’s favorite as well, and I am most like her of all three of us girls.

If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Do not think badly of me of saying this, but I would want to be stranded only with Manuel. I can think of no one else with whom I have enough in common to spend any period of time. Only if we were married, of course. Anything else would be scandalous!

How do you envision your future?

I see my future happily married to Manuel, having his children and loving him for the rest of my life.

© Dellani Oakes

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