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Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite
The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola is a historical fiction that takes place in Spain, starting in the year 1493. We meet Isabel who has broken her mother's heart by converting from Judaism to Christianity. Despite this, however, when she is noticed by Friar Alonso at La Casa Santa, the Holy House, she must flee or be submitted to the Inquisition. She marries a man she does not love and catches a boat to the New World as Christopher Columbus heads on his second voyage. Things take a turn and Isabel finds that she must make her way in this dangerous New World alone; will she be able to do it?
The first thing you should know about this book is that it is not a light and fluffy historical fiction; it is deep and heavy and has many layers to it. That said, it is a great read and it is that 'meat' which makes it so good. The first two chapters seem a little bit slow, but they set up a lot of details that you need for the book. Once you get past those first two chapters, however, the story seems to fly by and you will not want to put it down. I found Isabel an amazing woman for making her own choices in life in a period where a woman generally had little choice in what she did. She answered first to her family and then was married off. But this woman makes her own choices and, while she must face many hardships, she keeps moving on in the face of them. I wish I could be more like Isabel! You can tell that author Sylvia Bambola has put a lot of work into this book. Isabel shines through as a very realistic character and the backdrops of the story stand out vividly. Any historical fan is going to enjoy this book and I highly recommend it.