This is a chilling story of friendship, first love and family secrets. Estrella lives in Spain, next door to her best friend Catalina. They used to be inseparable, but then Andres, Catalina's cousin and the boy she's planning to marry, starts to gaze at Estrella instead. And Catalina starts to plot...Estrella's family have always done things ...
This is a chilling story of friendship, first love and family secrets. Estrella lives in Spain, next door to her best friend Catalina. They used to be inseparable, but then Andres, Catalina's cousin and the boy she's planning to marry, starts to gaze at Estrella instead. And Catalina starts to plot...Estrella's family have always done things slightly differently. Lighting candles on a Friday, for example. But these tiny things that Estrella has done all her life suddenly add up to something huge. She discovers that she and her family are Marranos - Spanish Jews living double lives as Catholics. And soon the outside world starts to intrude on her life - the world of the Spanish Inquisition, of neighbours accusing each other, of looting and riots. It is a world where new love burns and where friendship ends in flame and ash.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-10-16 As she did in The Foretelling, Hoffman offers another fascinating glimpse of a past civilization with reverberations for both past and present in this moving novel set during the Spanish Inquisition. The year is 1500 and, in the village of Encaleflora where 16-year-old narrator Estrella lives, Christian soldiers, "driven by bloodlust and evil," crusade against all forms of heresy. First, they burn books; next, they rob Jewish and Muslim families of their possessions, then torture or kill them. Readers familiar with Jewish traditions may guess what Estrella does not yet know about her family: that they are conversos, "new Christians," a community practicing the Jewish faith in secret. With expert pacing and lyrical prose, Hoffman lays out the clues that lead Estrella to self-discovery while also educating readers about the nuances of the times. Early signs point to the heroine's best friend Catalina's eventual betrayal of her (she invites Estrella over for a dinner of sausage, for instance), because she is jealous of the attentions Estrella receives from Catalina's cousin and fianc?, Andres. During her darkest hours, after her grandfather, mother and brother are brutally murdered, Estrella still refuses to compromise her values or her devotion to Andres, who returns her love despite the dangers. Even secondary and tertiary characters emerge fully formed, while Estrella's spare, eloquent narrative evokes her sorrow and her determination to survive and never to forget the atrocities she has witnessed. "Even when I was an old woman,... older than the oldest raven in the sky, I'd remember everything I'd ever known and seen," she vows as she prepares an escape to Amsterdam. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2007-10-08 During the Spanish Inquisition, 16-year-old Estrella and her family, Conversos who practice their Jewish faith in secret, face violent persecution by Christian soldiers. In a starred review, PW called this a "fascinating glimpse of a past civilization-with reverberations for both past and present," noting, "Estrella's spare, eloquent narrative evokes her sorrow and her determination to survive and never to forget the atrocities she has witnessed." Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-11-13 Lamia adopts a vaguely Spanish tone for her reading of Hoffman's tale of a 16-year-old girl in 16th-century Spain who discovers she is a converso-a Jewish convert to Christianity whose family secretly practices the Jewish faith. Lamia trills her Rs and renders her vowels pleasantly strange, sounding more like a Spaniard attempting to tread the unfamiliar ground of English than a native speaker. This strategy occasionally dips toward self-parody, but on the whole, Lamia is pleasant to listen to, and the slightly childish, perky tone of her voice is just right for Hoffman's teenage protagonist. Her unusual reading provides an air of mystery that is entirely appropriate for this story of secret lives unraveled. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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