Monday, May 14, 2012

a historical novel with a unique setting.

Ah, Venice. I visited this popular city in the extremely cold winter, which did not take away from any of its beauty. The island of Venice was just as I imagined it would be. Cobblestone streets, canals running throughout carrying tourists on gondolas, charmingly decorated shop windows, every building holding onto the classic architecture of the past. It all sounds very idyllic, because it is.

Yup, on a gondola ride with my brother.
Roberta Rich wrote a historical novel set in this fair city in the 16th century. The Midwife of Venice already has a reputation for being extremely well written and well researched by the author, which is something we all look for in a novel. Our protagonists are Hannah Levi, a Jewish midwife and her husband, Isaac, a merchant who has been kidnapped and sold into slavery. One evening, a Christian Count travels to the Jewish ghetto to find Hannah, desperate for her to assist his wife who is in labor and having difficulties giving birth. In 1575, a Jewish woman helping deliver a Christian baby is against the law and not only would it put her entire community at risk; it is considered a crime punishable by torture and death. Jeesh, the Jews could never catch a break. What stood out to me the most in this novel was Rich's portrayal of class and religious division, it was truly fascinating.

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