What worked: This is a fascinating, engaging glimpse into later 15th century Spain and the exodus of the Jewish people. The story starts when Loma is seven years old and recovering from the plague. Her elderly grandfather-Belo-takes her as his companion on his numerous trips throughout Spain. Loma witnesses first hand the prejudice against her people. The pressure to convert and become a converso-is very intense. And there's no guarantee that the Inquisition or others will accuse you of crimes.
What was really appealing to me, is how one of my own ancestors, a converso-came over with Cortez during this time. I love reading stories that cover the Spanish Inquisition and show what happened to those who refused to convert.
I really liked how the author shows Loma's wisdom with the Spanish monarchy and how against odds, she never strays from her beliefs. Readers see how Christians treated the Jews at that time. Not all were unkind. Also Loma's family's faithful servant Hamdun, who stays with her even when others don't. An interesting history fact is how Muslims who were captured during the Spanish war were turned into servants or slaves.
Captivating story of a young Jewish girl who's devotion to not only her beloved grandfather, but her Jewish heritage, strengthens her during a horrific time in history.