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The Literary "Hall of James" Favorite Fictional Characters / Teresa Mendoza

Updated on March 2, 2021
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James is a fan of action adventure stories that have a historical element to them..

The Queen of the South (cover)

Hall of James Summary

Character: Teresa Mendoza

Story: Queen of the South (2002)

Author: Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Life gave Teresa Mendoza lemons and she made lemonade… with a vengeance. Teresa, better known by her alias, “the queen of the south”, took her lemons and squeezed out lemonade using an ingredient mixture of good fortune and even better fortitude. As a result, she transformed from a mild mannered girlfriend of a Sinaloa drug cartel pilot (Güero Dávila) into a mysterious, enterprising femme fatale who would become her majesty of the Mediterranean.

Güero’s antics, one high flying stunt too many, sowed the tart lemon seeds that Teresa soon reaped. She found herself in trouble with the cartel in general and Don Epifanio Vargas in particular. The don, who rose out of poverty by lifting himself up by his bullet straps, was the kind of man other men admire due to his success. Whereas he was a man’s man, Teresa did him one better: for she was a man’s women. She was both soldier and siren wrapped in a deceptively seductive package. Teresa was that invincible combination of admirable and desirable

Sinaloa, Mexico

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Where her story began

Lemon Lows and Lemonade Highs

Teresa Mendoza’s biopic included several instances in which she took lemon like crisis and turned these into lemonade like opportunities. The following list includes the primary examples:


The cartel kills her boyfriend and then comes after her.


Teresa escapes to Spain where she begins a new life and early on she use her knack for numbers to improve her lot in life.


Fate brings her another drug runner boyfriend while in Spain. (Santiago Fisterra) It appears like here she goes again.


Teresa rather than settle for being a sheltered mistress to the life of which her boyfriend was wedded decides to become part of the action. This led her to learn nuts and bolts skills that would prove useful in later adventures.


She was marooned at sea, served a stint in prison and endured a harrowing confrontation with a Russian mobster.


She survives, meets people key to her ascent and lays the financial foundation to become LaReina del Sur- Queen of the South.

Alice Braga "Teresa" in the television series
Alice Braga "Teresa" in the television series | Source
strait of gibralter:
Strait of Gibraltar

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The strait of Gibraltar links the Atlantic with the Mediterranean and as such linked Teresa's lowly past in Mexico with her ascent to power in Spain.

The Code

The code that Teresa chose to live by provided the secret sauce, lemony nectar that sweetened the drink she made of her life that had as its origins the bitter fruit tossed her way. The code was not base upon morality as such but rather a sense of natural order. Still, her belief in this order made sense of the world and contained a nearly accidental element of morality. Teresa is still relatively young when the kingdom she built upon lemon ruins appears to cease. It appears the world’s foremost lemonade stand owner may have more adventures in more books to come.

Teresa Mendoza can be best described in the mathematical language to which she was so innately drawn: Admirable + desirable = irresistible.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2015 James C Moore


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    • justthemessenger profile imageAUTHOR

      James C Moore 

      5 years ago from Joliet, IL

      It's always nice when a good character shares a name with a family member. Thanks for your input.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      She sure is beautiful and street smart, too. Way to go, Teresa. What's more, she has the same name as my sister, hahahaha. Very informative and enjoyable article.

    • justthemessenger profile imageAUTHOR

      James C Moore 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Yes, Teresa made the best out of a bad situation. I am always glad to introduce hubbers to my favorite characters.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      I love your lemons/lemonade/lemons/lemonade analysis. It makes the plot simple for someone who hasn't read the book.

    • justthemessenger profile imageAUTHOR

      James C Moore 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Atticus is special. Julie and he were my #s 1 and 2 before I read James Baldwin's classic. But, I didn't write the list down way back then. Thanks for your input.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your #4 is my #1, but a good list nonetheless. Thanks for introducing me to Teresa!

    • justthemessenger profile imageAUTHOR

      James C Moore 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thank you for reading and your comment. I found Teresa Mendoza to be very interesting and unique.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from the beautiful south

      Interesting read and very unique!


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