That caricature is done now too, if you want you can color it in with crayons- the flowy clothes should have really bright colors. One's ancestry isn't just pictures of people, it's decades and centuries of people's lives- their heartaches, their struggles, their loves, and their sacrifices for future generations. Or vice-versa: the parts taking place in the past are wonderful, but the contemporary characters sound ridiculous ie The Awakening, by. That said, I also found that with so many intervening stories, I had a hard time remembering what was happening with Hannah from time to time. Suzanne and Francesca are opposites and not apt to work well with each other; Francesca is a workaholic who values only money, while Suzanne has given her life over to good causes.
Learned so much history while reading this book. If I hadn't committed myself to reading it through, I certainly would have just skipped over those chapters. The story is fascinating: two sisters must take a trip for their grandmother, and in doing so, they discover a part of their lives that they hadn't previously known about. But Suzanne and Francesca, beautiful young women caught up in trendy causes and ambitious careers, have no interest in the past. I believe our caricature is complete. Hannah Mendes is one of the names of the Spanish Heiress from the 15th century. It was almost as though there were two different people writing this.
So that's why three stars, although I will now be snarky. I found myself skipping those parts. And one last gripe, about this edition anyway. The Mendes story is the best part of the book. Likewise I learned as much about the Spanish Inquisition as I could get from a wikipedia search. Likewise I learned as much about the Spanish Inquisition as I could get from a wikipedia search.
The Ghost of Hannah Mendes was such a book. Now, I am reticent to read any of her other novels. I liked the writing during the periods of the book when history was discussed but the modern day sections and characters seemed silly. She was a career business woman who was prudent with her money, but liked having it around. If you like romances this one has several beginning with Hannah herself, known as Gracia because of those who wish to obliterate the Jewish people - primarily the church of Rome. The sisters honor their grandmother's request out of loyalty and start to uncover ancient pages from Hannah Mendes's fascinating memoir. This book was an amazing story of a 15th century Jewish heiress in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition weaved together with the story of a group of overly coddled, wealthy, selfish women who have no ties to their history.
I did not think it added to the story at all. Overall, I cannot recommend this book. But mainly, I find myself analyzing the author. She is visited by a ghost of one of her ancestors who asks her to find the missing pages from her story as a Jew at the time of the Inquisition. My critique is that reading it was like finding islands of beautiful insight amidst a river of exclamation points and cliches. Problem 3: Gracia Mendes' ghost supposedly visits Catherine, Francesca, and Suzanne and eventually Francesca and Suzanne visit with her.
I love her novels Jephte's Daughter and Sotah and recommend them. While the sisters honor their grandmother's request out of loyalty, they believe their quest is futile--until it starts to uncover ancient pages from Hannah Mendes's fascinating memoir, and brings new loves into their lives. Suzanne's Modern Ideology is liberal, eat vegetarian food, wear flowy clothes. The author could have handled their motivation as just being to please their grandmother. The Spanish Inquisition was a terrifying time and I think this story covered it well. It all starts when the elderly Catherine de la Costa finds out she is dying and is thus visited by the apparition of Gracia Hannah Mendes, an ancestor who lived as a converso during the Spanish Inquisition.
Catherine has been told she only has a short time to live. Naomi Ragen could hardly have found a better backdrop for this novel. But the fiction narrative quickly dissolved into a stereotypical family soap opera -- two sisters who are barely aware of their Sephardic heritage end up fully engaged in their Jewishness. This book reads like a sermon- a racy one at points, but a sermon combined with a history lesson none the less. But the decision to have both of the protagonists find true love with a nice Jewish boy just seems contrived.
I could have — maybe — tolerated this paean to motherhood above career if the book had been better. The story plot was very interesting, but the modern day story that paralleled the story of Hannah Mendes during the 1500's could have been stronger, I was having trouble getting through the book at times. While the sisters honor their grandmother's request out of loyalty, they believe their quest is futile--until it starts to uncover ancient pages from Hannah Mendes's fascinating memoir, and brings new loves into their lives. This is a wonderful book for people who view history as boring. I felt it was hackneyed, cloying, and cheesy.
Every so often a book comes along to which one hopes the end will never come. Despite my dislike for this story, I intend on seeking out the other novel this author has written. This book is so good. The story crosses historical fiction with a romance novel. I have loved all of her books so far. Opulent prose, brave female characters and an emphasis on the importance of family and tradition distinguish the latest from bestselling Ragen Jephte's Daughter. This book reads like a sermon- a racy one at points, but a sermon combined with a history lesson none the less.
She regrets not having instilled in her granddaughters a sense of their heritage. It's fiction, so the The story crosses historical fiction with a romance novel. Also, it had a ghost. Catherine almost despairs until, falling asleep before her fireplace, she is visited by the family matriarch, an indomitable Renaissance businesswoman named Hannah Mendes a true historical figure , who offers her a partnership. When Catherine da Costa, a wealthy Manhattan matron, learns she has only a short time to live, she realizes that her family tree will die unless she passes on its legacy and traditions to her granddaughters.