Friday, March 16, 2012

MG/YA Historical Fiction: The Last Song by Eva Wiseman

Publisher: Tundra Books
Date: April 10, 2012
Format: hardback
Acquired: from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 225
Reading time: two days

From GoodReads: Spain had been one of the world’s most tolerant societies for eight hundred years, but that way of life was wiped out by the Inquisition. Isabel’s family feels safe from the terrors, torture, and burnings. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Isabel was raised as a Catholic and doesn’t know that her family’s Jewish roots may be a death sentence. When her father is arrested by Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, she makes a desperate plan to save his life – and her own.

My review: This is another historical read that picks up readers and lands them smack-dab in the era. Wiseman certainly makes real to her readers the fears and trials experienced by the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition. Isabel has a fast track from her sheltered, innocent childhood and adolescence to the real world of emerging adulthood in a time turbulent for her people. The author also covers a wide range of 15th-century Spanish society, from the Familiars of the Inquisition to the Moorish slaves of a New Christian family.

The only thing I could have wished for is more writing. Wiseman could easily have fleshed out the book more than its little over 200 pages, which would have allowed for more character and plot development. Much of the romance and overall sequence of events seemed rushed, at times jumping a number of days or weeks without any filling-out. The complete story, however, certainly makes a worthwhile and informative historical read for a variety of audiences.

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