Synopsis: 1481 Seville: The Inquisition makes its first appearance in Spain. Its target: conversos, Christians of Jewish descent—specifically those who practice Judaism secretly in their homes. The penalty for “crypto-Judaism”: Burning at the stake.
Marisol Garcia, a young conversa, is hurriedly
wed to Gabriel, a civil lawyer working for the Inquisition, in hopes
that he will protect her. But she still yearns for the childhood love
who abandoned her four years earlier, and she’s shocked when he
reappears suddenly at her wedding. When her father is arrested and
tortured, Marisol finds herself caught between her love for him and her
desire to save the lives of her people. After becoming a favorite of
the ruthless Queen Isabella, Marisol discovers a dangerous secret about
her former lover, Antonio, and finds herself trapped in a
life-threatening web of intrigue. As the Inquisition’s snares tighten
around her, Marisol’s love for Antonio and loyalty to her Jewish family
is tested as never before…
My Thoughts: I have been meaning to read something by this author for quite some time. I have three more of her books on my shelf waiting to be read and I have heard wonderful things about them. The first thing that stood out to me after reading this novel is that the synopsis given for it is a little misleading. While Marisol is torn about her love for Antonio, this is not really the focus of the book. It is rather more in the vein of watching Marisol come into her own as a young woman while dealing with the horrific circumstances wrought on her life by the dreaded Inquisition.
What I found exemplary about this book is how thoroughly the author delves into this unfortunate period in history. The fanaticism of the Queen and Inquisitors in their persecutions was well conveyed here. I found it remarkable that Isabella could invite Conversos to her court entertainments one night and the very next day authorize the torture of those very same people. Where I had trouble with Inquisitor's Wife was in the area of character development. I felt the only character I got to "know" well enough in the story and due to her mulish pride and awful treatment of her mother, she wasn't very likable in the first half of the novel. A few characters were understandably left more vague in order to produce those ah ha! enlightened plot twists later in the novel but others especially Gabriel who Marisol is forced to wed and Antonio whom her heart really belongs to could have been fleshed out a bit more. Marisol also frustrated me a bit because she experiences some truly awful things throughout the course of the novel yet reacts to them in a way that seemed a bit unnatural to me.
The action does pick up in the latter quarter of the book and hurtles home to a satisfying ending but with the pacing of the book being a little on the slow side and my struggles with Marisol I didn't enjoy this one as much as others set in the same time period. I am still planning on reading the others I have by this author because I really do enjoy her style of writing. I'm just thinking that I should have started with a different book. Kudos to whoever chose the cover design for this book-I love it!
This book was provided for me for review by the publisher via NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts on the book.