THE POETRY OF SECRETS, by Cambria Gordon, Scholastic Press, Feb. 2, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 12 and up)
A young woman is forced to hide her true self in Cambria Gordon’s The Poetry of Secrets.
Isabel Perez carries secrets with her every day.
As a young woman in 1481, Trujillo, Spain, Isabel should be overjoyed that the alguacil of the city wants to marry her. She is supposed to be flattered especially because she and her family are conversos — Jews forced to convert to Catholicism — leaving them low in the hierarchy of the new Spanish order. But, although she can’t tell anyone, she only has eyes for Diego Altamirano, a young nobleman whose family would never let him court Isabel.
So for now she sneaks out to attend poetry readings, for she longs to one day be a famous poet… another secret wish that may never come true.
But Isabel’s most dangerous secret is this: Though the Perezes claim to be New Christians, they still practice Judaism in the refuge of their own home. When the Spanish Inquisition reaches Trujillo determined to punish such judaizers, Isabel finds herself in more danger than she ever could have imagined. Amidst the bloodshed and intolerance, she and Diego will have to fight for their lives in a quest to truly be free. —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Press
The Poetry of Secrets is a love story set during the Spanish Inquisition. You’d think that would make for an exciting read, but it doesn’t really unfold that way. This slow-moving story is mired in the details. In an effort to give readers all the background, author Cambria Gordon forgets to tell the story.
I was so excited to read The Poetry of Secrets, but in the end, I only read about half of it. The pacing and lack of a hook made it hard for me to push through. Though I didn’t finish it, this book may appeal to some fans of historical fiction. I suggest it as a library read.
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