Saturday, September 4, 2010

Incantation by Alice Hoffman

What a fascinating and insightful novel about the Spanish Inquisition during the 1500’s. The story follows 16 year old Estrella deMadrigal and her family during the time when fellow town’s folk are persecuted, tortured, and even killed for being secret Jews.

Estrella and her best friend, Catalina, find their friendship isn’t what it used to be, and Estrella feels she no longer knows, nor can, trust Catalina. Estrella finds out who she really is as the story unfolds, her family has a secret that they are to tell no one about, but when that secret gets out Estrella becomes stronger and knows what she must do to save what she has left.

This novel read like poetry, and wove a wonderful plot and story that kept me reading and reading! I normally don’t like historical fiction, but found I learned a lot about the Inquisition that I had not known before. What a great story to use to teach students about this time period and even comparing it with other historical fiction books about the Holocaust.

I would recommend this book for grades 6 and up.

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