This story is about a girl growing up in Guatemala, a girl who had to endure many horrifying experiences within her family and from without. The book is an action-adventure story written in novel style. It encompasses her fight against the sexist dominant culture; a kidnapping; sexual, physical and mental abuse at the hands of a psychopathic criminal; an attempted murder; a daring escape; eventual rescue by caring friends and strangers; and victory through a determination to never be defeated. The town of San Pedro Pinula was a town without electricity and the common mode of transportation to and from the surrounding farm and ranch land was and still is by foot or on horseback. In this setting the dramatic events that enveloped Gabriela give the story an atmosphere of a wild-west adventure. In addition to the telling of the horrific events, there are poignant, loving, critical, and at times amusing portraits of Gabriela's mother, father, cousins, boarding school experiences, school mates, her first love and the angels who appeared to save her from certain ruin and near death.
Interwoven in the story is a portrait of small town and rural life in one region of Guatemala; with descriptions of local customs, religion, housing, schooling, and transportation. There are more than thirty photographs of people and places that figure in the story. Detailed maps are also included to assist the reader. Gabriela's story is one of victory over adversity through tenacity, bravery, and hope. Her fondest wish is that her story will be not just an exciting and excellent read, which it is; but will also be an inspiration to others who have suffered extreme adversity through no fault of their own.