My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Not many know how King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella treated the Jews of Spain and that is what drew me to this book for we are bombarded with books about European Jews during World War II and even though they represent a large portion of my reading list it is refreshing to see a book that still highlights the history of the Jewish people without the word Hitler anywhere in the text.
How unimaginably difficult it must be to make that choice: To either pretend to be a Christian or to live openly as a Jew in those times? It seems either way the Jewish people could not escape the wrath of us Christians, we were a biased people back then so much for loving your neighbor and all. The Jewish people of Spain, even though they obviously suffer, take this persecution and eventual expulsion from Spain with great strength and faith that God will be there with them throughout it all. I must admit I am a little jealous of Amalia and the strength and sense of home that she finds within her faith even in the house of the Lord I feel somewhat outside everything that is occurring inside the church, so I am quite jealous of Amalia’s sense of faith.
When she was little Amalia’s family converted from Judaism to Christianity to ensure their safety but even for those who converted they were still viewed with suspicion and hatred but more unlikely to be killed then someone whom practiced Judaism for all to see, so Amalia’s mom made sure that they practiced their true religion in secret. The story follows Amalia throughout her life with all of its triumphs, trials, joys, and disappointments through a horrible marriage and into a loving affair, Amalia is someone who lives life to the fullest all while maintaining her sense of self.
Just like her grandfather’s atlas, Amalia has drawn her own map, not one you can see visually for it spans a lifetime, but one of life and love with its own mountains and valleys, stormy seas and calm meadows. A marvelous tale about a wonderful woman’s love of faith and family!
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