Estrella is a Marrano: During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, she is one of a community of Spanish Jews living double lives as Catholics. And she is living in a house of secrets, raised by a family who practices underground the ancient and mysterious way of wisdom known as kabbalah. When Estrella discovers her family's true identityand her family's secrets are made publicshe confronts a world she's never imagined, where new love burns and where friendship ends in flame and ash, where trust is all but vanquished and betrayal has tragic and bitter consequences.
Infused with the rich context of history and faith, in her most profoundly moving work to date, Alice Hoffman's first historical novel is a transcendent journey of discovery and loss, rebirth and remembrance.
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.