Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
The Last Fernandez by Sandra Perez Gluschankoff is a historical novel that transports readers to a turbulent moment in history, allowing them to feel the dynamics of the Spanish Inquisition and the bloody war in Argentina. It explores what it meant to be a Jew at that time of the Inquisition and the horrors of war. Angelina is just six when she is sent to a Catholic convent where she would spend the next twelve years of her life. It is here that she makes a strong connection with Sara Fernandez, a strange woman whose presence takes her away from the stark loneliness of her life. Little does she know that she’d be linked eventually to the very life and heart of a Marrano family. What did it really mean to be a Jew during the time of the Inquisition and what does it have to do with a girl living many centuries after that event?
The reader is taken on a dramatic ride alongside compelling characters. The writing is filled with emotions, and it is interesting how the author imbues her characters with life and a rare humanity. She melds elements of historical fiction with time travel to create an exceptionally tantalising reading experience for readers. The setting is strong and readers get a clear picture of the 15th century in Cordoba, Spain and Argentina during the late 1970s. The themes of political and religious persecution, family, and man’s inhumanity to man are developed with unusual mastery. The story is balanced and deft and the reader can feel the interconnections between the setting, the thematic development, character building, and conflict. The Last Fernandez is one of the best books I have read in the genre of historical events. It is intelligently plotted and written to perfection.