For centuries both women have been reviled as collaborators in Spanish conquests of the new world that verged on genocide. La Malinche was an Aztec turncoat who helped Hernán Cortés conquer Mexico; Inés Suárez was a Spanish seamstress who joined another conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia, in slaughtering the inhabitants of Chile.
Now two of Latin America's female literary giants, Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende, have come to the rescue by writing novels casting them as misunderstood heroines who could be role models for today's women.
There are two sides to every story...
There are certain characters in history that have been given a short shrift. Judgment was passed quickly and if their stories were too complicated or if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, tough luck for them. One need not look far these days to find characters that have been so maligned (wrongly or otherwise) and now, thanks to the imaginations of fiction writers, they have been given another chance (and the author has a nice "this is my side" story to tell). The two (women) that spring to mind are Mary Magdalene and the Wicked Witch of the West, and now you can add two conquistadors' women to the list of those absolved by modern fiction.