The night before Esperanza's 13th birthday, her father gets shot on his way home from work by bandits.
Esperanza's mother was asked to marry the father's brother but she said no. Later that night, the brother set their house on fire, forcing the mother to marry the brother. But the night they moved in to his house, they ran away to California with her servants.
When they were adjusting in their new village, there was a huge dust storm. Esperanza's family was outside working on a farm so they could only get little shelter. Her mother got very sick after the storm because she breathed in the dust. Plus, she was depressed.
In Esperanza's old life, she was rich and she had servants to do things for her but now she has to learn to do that. She also has to learn to work beacuse her mom is to sick and can't work.
Esperanza's grandma was to ill and weak to make the quick escape to california. That was part of why her mother was depressed. Miguel snuck out to go back to Mexico to get her. The whole family was nervous and didn't know where he went. When he came back with grandma, everyone was happy and Esperanza's mother got better.