The Mapmaker’s Daughter

Laurel Corona. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8649-0
Amalia is descended from a long line of famed Spanish cartographers, including her father, who has spent his life making maps for Spanish royalty. As the Spanish court in the 15th century moves to persecute those who live openly as Jews, Amalia’s family changes its name, attends church, and swaps its mezuzah for a crucifix, though behind closed doors, they continue to practice their faith. When her father receives a commission to help Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese prince, map the newly explored African coast, Amalia accompanies him to Portugal. As she grows to womanhood, Amalia’s Jewish identity is strengthened by her enduring friendship with the poet Judah Abravanel and his family, the birth of her daughter, and a passionate (but doomed) affair with a Muslim poet. When she returns to Spain as an old woman, the political climate has further shifted, as Tomas de Torquemada spearheads the beginnings of the Spanish Inquisition. Through persecution and exile, Amalia clings to her identity as fiercely as she clings to the family atlas—a unique and priceless book created by her family and passed down through the generations. Occasional reminiscences from Amalia as an old woman stall the plot a bit, and the thematic connection to mapmaking is sometimes tenuous. But Corona (Finding Emilie) depicts the time period in great detail, and a cast of richly drawn characters adds further depth to a fascinating look at an era rarely explored in historical fiction. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/27/2014
Release date: 03/04/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4022-8651-3
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