When they are older, Isabel and Pedro fall in love, but their religious differences, especially because of what the Catholic church has done to the Jews, makes their relationship impossible to her parents. Shaftel offers well-developed, three-dimensional characters and a compelling story line which goes into detail about the Inquisition. She also talks about how the horrible actions of some of the Inquisition's leaders were viewed and acted upon by other Catholics as well as how the New Catholics lived their lives and were treated by their neighbors.
As Ms. Shaftel writes, "Fear is the enemy of reason. Examples are public prayer especially in schools , abortion, and homosexuality. Some of the passages that examine this include "The fish do not demand of the birds that they swim in the river. The birds do not compel the fish to fly.
Each one serves God according to the way he was created" and "You may follow one stream.
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Realize that it leads to the ocean. Do not confuse the stream with the ocean. Nov 30, Cynthia Mcarthur rated it it was ok. Isabel Alvares is the daughter of a prominent Jewish book seller. Her family is forced into baptism by the Spanish Inquisition when she is 4 years old. Pedro de Cuelho is 14 when he participates in the chaotic forced baptism. He never forgets Isabel, a beautiful, strong-willed child.
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As Isabel becomes a woman, her family shares with her their secret Jewish heritage, and their need to preserve their people from the terror of the Inquisition. He has never forgotten her, and she feels an inexplicable longing to be with him. Pedro is a Christian, but speaks out against the Inquisition. Meanwhile, Isabel becomes a spy against the Inquisition when Cardinal Ximenes, Inquisitor General, asks her to translate for his new polyglot Bible. Isabel helps Pedro to escape Spain, despite the fact that she needs him more than ever, she stays in Spain long enough to see her mother burn for heresy.
This story takes us from Spain and Portugal and even to Brazil.
It is full of high-drama and fear, though I never really picked up on the imagery that is so vital to historical fiction, I felt as though this story could have taken place in or The reader is fully aware of the emotions of the characters, but without the imagery, and without much contemporary language, I had a hard time engaging with the characters and their journey. There were some misprints in the book that I might have expected if it were an Advanced Readers Copy, but not in a published work.
However, the book itself is beautiful with a glossy green cover and ornate filigree cross. In short, it looks great on the shelf, but I thought the story could have used a little more development, and I questioned the freedom Isabel would have had as a Jewish woman in 16th century Spain.
I would buy it used, probably not new. Sheila rated it really liked it Nov 04, Jennifer marked it as to-read Dec 26, Astrid marked it as to-read Apr 10, Fae H-B marked it as to-read Jan 05, Katalin Eisenberg marked it as to-read Jul 12, Micki Levin marked it as to-read Sep 24, Laura Murray marked it as to-read Apr 27, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
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