Lola Herrera, Adventurer by Linda Harris Sittig

Lola Herrera was the youngest daughter of a Peruvian plantation owner at the turn of the last century. Living the life of privilege, she could not have imagined how quickly fate can change in the blink of an eye. Entering her teens, she was seduced by her father’s distillery manager, becoming pregnant at the age of 13.
As her lover had promised undying love, he also persuaded her that a pregnancy would make it impossible for her father to refuse the request for her hand in marriage. When the full picture was disclosed, her father instead followed his Victorian code of honor and wrote ‘deceased’ next to her name in the family Bible. Shocked and most certainly confused, she was told to pack; never to return.
Her father looked the other way as the plantation overseer made provisions for her to live with a family in the city. They turned out to be unscrupulous, using her ‘birthing money’ to purchase a sewing machine. In order to earn her rent and board, she became a seamstress in their garment business, working from sunup to sundown. After giving birth to her baby, Lola made the first of many independent decisions: she decided that to stay with the family would relegate her to a life of slavery. Instead, she took the infant and walked the streets of the city, trying to find a room to rent.
Befriended by a kind stranger, she was directed to a nearby establishment, which in her naiveté she thought was an all women’s boarding house: instead it was a bordello. The madam at first dismissed Lola because of the infant, until Lola convinced her she was an excellent seamstress and could make fashionable outfits for the other ‘women of the house.’
Because of her sewing capabilities, Lola went on to make money for herself and took care of her child; eventually moving out of the bordello and procuring both a small apartment and a job at a dry goods store. It was there that she met and fell in love with Mehmet, her first husband.
After Mehmet’s death at sea, she became a widow; now with two children to raise. Eventually there were three more husbands, and four more children, as she gave birth in each marriage, and ultimately became a widow three times over. Her second husband was murdered, and her third husband moved the family from South America to the United States, forcing Lola to adapt once more to change. Her tumultuous life took her from the Andes of her childhood to the slopes of San Francisco as an adult; living then into her 90s. Along the way she kept discovering that only the strong survive.
If you would like to read more about this strong, independent woman, look for the full story, It’s Just Lola, available at


About lhsittig

I am a freelance writer who specializes in historical fiction that showcases strong female protagonists. In non-fiction I focus on literacy tips for parents and teachers to help children become life long readers.
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2 Responses to Lola Herrera, Adventurer by Linda Harris Sittig

  1. Lola says she is thrilled to be a part of your wonderful blog. She never thought of herself as a strong woman, but she shyly admits that she probably was. She hopes to inspire women everywhere to stay strong and never stop loving.

  2. Thanks for another great post. I read It’s Just Lola and she certainly is a strong woman.

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