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Journey of Strangers (Mendoza Family Saga Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Diego and Rachel have returned to Spain in 1495 with their Taino friend Hutia after their devastating experiences in the Caribbean with Christopher Columbus. Spain, and much of Europe, is in turmoil, which frustrates their efforts to reunite with the Mendoza parents and siblings with whom they lost contact when the Jews were expelled from Spain.
In alternating chapters, the novel introduces Joanna who, two years earlier, was among several thousand Jewish children wrested from their families in Portugal, forced to convert to Catholicism and sent as slaves to an isolated island off the coast of Africa. Joanna is subjected to sexual and physical abuse and is forced to watch helplessly as her young brothers succumb to the dangers of the island before she escapes into the jungle, uncertain of her chances for survival.
Diego, Rachel and Hutia follow clues which take them first to Italy and then to Turkey in search of their family. Though often forgotten today, Muslims were also victims of expulsion from Spain and the enlightened Ottoman Empire made Jews and other refugees welcome while they were oppressed by Christian Europe.
In Istanbul the Mendoza clan finds freedom to follow their religion and renewed hope for a happier future. I'm already looking forward to the third novel.
(Zelvin provides a helpful afterword, historical timeline, bibliography of her sources and a glossary of Hebrew, Aramaic, Spanish, Portuguese, Taino, Latin, West African, Arabic and Turkish terms used in the novel.)
So if anyone happens to talk to the Author!!!!!! Ask her to continue the SAGA......PLEASE
This takes place a few years later in the 1490s. It's a long, involved story of Diego, his sister, Rachael, and, in a separate story through most of the book, a young girl, Joanna. The history of that time with the Jewish main characters, the Christian, and Muslim characters draw a picture of another time, but one that we can still recognize. A worthwhile book to understand cultures, while still immersed in a story that shouldn't be missed!