Incantation by Alice Hoffman
The main character in this book is Estrella deMadrigal. Estrella had a quite abnormal family in comparison to most teenage girls in Spain during the early 1300’s. Her mom, Abra, was the most beautiful person Estrella had ever seen. Abra used to make remarkable yarn in shades of blue never imagined. Everyone in town had believed Estrella’s mother was also a grand healer. Abra was believed to cure almost anything known to man.
Estrella and her mother lived with Estrella’s grandmother, a nasty old woman (in Estrella’s Opinion) who was kind to everyone but her; her grandfather, who was said to be the greatest teacher in Spain and who thought no woman (except Estrella’s mother, Abra) should be allowed to be educated; and her brother, Luis, who was off at a seminary, studying to be a priest.
Estrella was a girl on the edge of adult years and just beginning to experience life. Her best buddy, Catalina, her neighbor was her dearest companion. Catalina and Estrella had grown up as ‘Raven’ and ‘Crow’ (both nicknamed for their black hair) laughing and sharing everything. That was until the summer when Catalina’s cousin, Andres came to live with Catalina. Suddenly, the girls’ friendship is in jeopardy. Catalina has forever dreamt–as did her family–in her making a match with her cousin, Andres. However Andres has different plans. He’s fallen for the attractive neighbor, the best friend, the exquisite Estrella. Estrella try as she may can’t stop thinking about him either.
Estrella was alive at the time of Persecution of Jews in Spain in the 1500. Her family and their neighbors all despise Jews and call them ‘Marranos’ or secret Jews. There is a reward for anyone who finds such a family, and will get to keep all of the families’ possessions. Naturally, everyone suspects the other, but this suspicion brings the greatest of relationships apart, as you will soon see…
Teen Reviewer: Ankita Mishra, 8th Grader, Cary
*This blog post got Ankita a ticket in the prize drawing for our Teen Summer Contest. Click here to find out how to enter!*