The Last Song by Eva Wiseman

Isabel, a young woman living in Spain in 1492 at the dawn of the Inquisition, must face her true origins and embrace a new destiny for herself and her family. The secret of Isabel’s Jewish past is revealed very early in the book and she accepts it and learns to love it with only minimal reluctance. Although betrothed to a sneering noble, she finds herself drawn to the son of a silversmith who, more than her parents, helps unlock the secrets of Judaism for her. Isabel is a bold and brave heroine and an excellent role model for the young adult audience. Wiseman’s period details and writing are both excellent. A disturbing plot point revealing a key figure in the Inquisition to be of Jewish descent smacks of the pernicious anti-Semitic propaganda that Hitler was also of Jewish descent–a dangerously ironic falsehood that poses the ultimate Jew-hating question “who could do such terrible things except another Jew?” Aside from this unsettling plot device, the book tackles serious issues like a daughter’s obedience and a family’s obligation to survive in a terrible time while going light on the death and torture. The Last Song is a lovely novel whose characters face an impossible situation with candor and grace.

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One response to “The Last Song by Eva Wiseman

  1. Judithe Thompson

    I will definitely read this one!
    I must add that the whole “Hitler was a Jew, you know” thing came up in class on Friday. Sorry. No one gets away with that blood libel in my hearing.
    I was quick to quote you and plan to take in the piece you wrote on the subject with copies for everyone.

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