The Last Song
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The Last Song

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Spain had been one of the world’s most tolerant societies for eight hundred years, but that way of life was wiped out by the Inquisition. Isabel’s family feels safe from the terrors, torture, and burnings. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Isabel was raised as a Catholic and doesn’t know that her family’s Jewish roots ma...more
Hardcover, 225 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Tundra Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
The Last Song is one of those interesting ideas that doesn't live up to it's premise. I LOVE the idea of following a family secretly practicing Judaism during the Spanish Inquisition. I find it fascinating. The fear of the Inquisition, the conflict between loyalty to friends and church. But this book didn't really tackle any of those issues, at least not in a way that I found satisfactory.

The characters were all one note. Every Jewish person was wonderful, generous and good. On the other hand th...more
Lyndz
Mar 07, 2012 Lyndz rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction buffs looking for a weekend read
4 STARS!! This is a great read. I would recommend checking it out.

The Last Song is a YA historical fiction based in a time period that you really don’t read much about; the Spanish Inquisition. It seems like it has been forever since I read a YA historical fiction, and I had forgotten how much I love them.
The subject matter and the plot of this book are compelling and interesting. I learned a lot about the Spanish Inquisition that I did not know before.
Some of the characters felt a little cook...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

2.5 out of 5

When I first came upon Eva Wiseman's novel about 15th century Spain, it sounded like it had everything going for it: an intrepid and conflicted main character, an infamous villain for the ages, an often-ignored but compelling event in history - until I opened the first chapter. What this ended up as was rather superficial story that is too short and too undeveloped to carry any kind of depth or real feeling. I was quickly disillusioned...more
Tara Chevrestt
This was a surprisingly quick read, not due to length, but the fact that one can't really put it down. It's fast paced, to the point, rich in history.

The Spanish Inquisition is wreaking havoc all over Spain. Isabella doesn't quite understand why. She just knows it's because of the Jews, and she's been taught they are horrible people. Imagine her surprised when she finds out that she's one of them. Her father, the court physician, is a descendant of Jews... The story unfolds, revealing to the rea...more
Kelly
I recieved this as an ARC from Netgalley.

The Last Song by Eva Wiseman was a breath of fresh air. I have been reading a lot of the same style of books and it is so nice to take a step away from them, and read something so beautiful.

The Last Song takes place in Spain in the early 1490’s. During this time the Catholic Church has decreed that all Jewish people must become Christian or lose their lives. The King and Queen have an Inquisition to find all of those “Catholics” who are only Catholic by...more
Erin
[I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]


3.5 stars

Simply written and fast paced, this story is from the first person narrative of Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat’s daughter, in the early 1490s. Isabel’s world is rocked when her erstwhile indulgent parents decide to marry her in haste to a nobleman’s cruel and unpleasant son.

The reasoning behind this is soon clear: Isabel discovers that her parents are both second generation Conversos - their grandparents...more
Amber
Young Isabel lives in Spain during the time of Torquemada and the Inquisition, but neither make her afraid. After all, her family is well-to-do, her father one of Ferdinand and Isabella’s physicians, and the Catholic faith is all Isabel knows. Until her parents arrange a marriage for her with the cold-hearted Luis and the betrothal preparations allow her to meet a Jewish person for the first time; a boy her age named Yonah. Between that and the whispers of Luis’ servants, Isabel learns about her...more
Michelle
Actual Rating: 3.5
It has taken me a while to review The Last Song because I have struggled with how to approach it. You see, I am precisely the type of person who would be inherently interested in it, but not at all Wiseman's intended audience. I am well read in both the middle ages and Jewish history and culture. In short, I know too much. That is not to say that Wiseman is in any way ignorant, or that she is wrong; merely that I wanted more detail, more nuance, and more depth from this story t...more
Val
Isabel lives a life of luxury as the daughter of the physician in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Spain is known for its tolerance of different religious and cultural beliefs, but all that changes with the Spanish inquisition. Isabel has been raised as a Catholic and is very devout in her faith. When she is betrothed to a less than suitable young man from a wealthy respected family Isabel learns a secret that will change her life.

Slight Spoiler alert****************************************...more
Diane S.
It is so wonderful to know that there are still authors out there writing historical fiction for young adults. This takes place in Toledo Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Isabelle's father is the royal physician and has always promised her that when she was fifteen she could choose her own husband. That changes when he betroths her to a cruel young man who is known as coming from a staunch Catholic family. What follows are family secrets and a young...more
Colleen
"...This book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, and I am really pleased that I've also received a copy of another book by the same author, because The Last Song is fantastic. I read it through in one night; it got pretty late, but I couldn't bring myself to put it down. I caught myself holding my breath through pages, anxious for Isabel and her family; I could not go to sleep without finding out what was going to happen..."

For full review, please visit me at Here Be Bookwyrms on...more
Carrie Slager
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I honestly couldn’t have been more disappointed in this novel; it’s pretty hard to make a story set in the Spanish Inquisition boring but Eva Wiseman certainly managed to. The main problem was that the writing style of this book is awful. It’s essentially this: Isabel did [x]. She didn’t know how she felt about it. Then she reacted to [y]. She felt sad about it.

Are you snoring yet? Th...more
Daisey
I don't know that I've ever read a young adult book that dealt with the Inquisition before, so as soon as I saw the summary for this book on NetGalley I wanted to read it. It was an interesting story, and I think it would be a good way for young readers to be introduced to this time in history. However, I was disappointed because I expected so much more from the characters. I didn't find Isabel's immediate switch from being a devoutly Catholic girl to actively exploring her true Jewish culture b...more
Megz
I read this book because I love historical fiction, I had never read a book set in Spain before, and I know very little about the Spanish Inquisition.

The premise intrigued me – it wasn’t the first book about arranged marriage that I read, but the whole package was quite unique.
The Last Song did not disappoint. As a whole, it was certainly unique. It was not entirely predictable and took a completely different turn to what I expected. I appreciated that there was no insta-love, and that the rom...more
Dill Werner
ARC provided by the publisher in Netgalley for a fair and honest review:

This was a quick and beautiful read. As someone who has a degree in German on top of being Jewish, I am very familiar with World War II events. It's gotten to the point where I'd cringe if it was on the reading agenda. My people did that to my people. Let's reopen the wound, shall we? The majority of our foreign language films or later literature revolved around WWII. However, this novel is such a breath of fresh air. It rea...more
Agustina Gonzalez
I was approved from NetGalley for a honest review.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The last song is a YA Historical Fiction, set in the Spanish Inquisition era. During the time when The Catholic Church was in power to decree all Jewish people, and sentence them to death if they do not follow the Christian religion. It was a refreshing reading a Historical Fiction book.This year it’s been the genre that I have read the least. Lately, I have been reading many fantasy, and it is good to read something different...more
Jillian
{ Review originally posted on my blog, PidginPea's Book Nook. I received this as an ebook from NetGalley. }

The Last Song is centered around the Spanish Inquisition, so I expected it to deal with some serious issues and explore the emotions of the characters, especially Isabel's. While it did have a meaningful plot, overall the book just felt kind of bland.

I've read some amazing middle grade novels that really get into the characters' heads, where they share their thoughts with you and you feel t...more
Heather Pearson
This book is set in mid 1491 Toledo, Spain. King Ferdinand and his wife Queen are on the throne. There is much religious persecution at the time, both of Jews and Muslims. The priests and familiars of the Inquisition are actively rounding up and interrogating even those who converted to Christianity several generations earlier.


Isabel has been raised a Catholic and has no reason to fear the Inquisition, or so she thought. What secrets has her parents been hiding from her, and why are they insisti...more
Rocio Carrillo
I received this as an ARC from Netgalley.

From my point of view, I really enjoyed the story. All the characters are fantastic; especially Isabel and Yonah, both are well-defined like the others. And adding real characters makes the novel more reliable.

With this story, Eva Wiseman tells a story from a different point of view. A Jew Family that have to survive in a country where the things are changing. For a Spanish people, it is a good book to remember what happened in our country so many years a...more
manda-rae
So I definitely enjoy historical fiction, and that's probably why I enjoyed this novel. Granted, it's the first novel I've read that's set in Spain and around the Spanish Inquisition. But it's definitely sparked curiosity and made me want to learn more. Man, humanity has done some horrible things in its time...

The story starts out with Isabel's parents selecting a suitable 'Christian' husband for her. During her betrothal, we find out that Luis really isn't very respectable, nor does he shine wi...more
Britta
Even though I don't read much of it, Historical Fiction is definitely my favorite genre... which means that I am extra picky with it. There were somethings I enjoyed about The Last Song and some aspects that just did not do it for me.


Starting with the good (because starting with the not so good is too predictable). I really enjoyed the subject matter. The Spanish Inquisition is a huge moment in European history, yet I feel like I only know of the name and nothing that actually happened during it...more
Iris
[review copy from Netgalley
Originally published here: http://irisonbooks.com/2012/05/01/the...]

I have always found Spain at the time of the Reconquista a fascinating subject. There is something so fascinating about a society in which Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together, with at the same time the religious tensions and wars, and the role of the Inquisition, in particular during the reign of Ferdinand III of Aragon and Isabella of Castille. I am not an expert, at all, but what I have read...more
Rebecca
Fourteen-year-old Isabel de Cardosa lives a privileged life as the only child of wealthy parents in Toledo, Spain in 1491. She lives in a nice house and has beautiful clothes. Her parents have always given her everything she wanted. But then everything changes. Her parents announce that she will be betrothed to Luis, a boy from a wealthy and respected family. Although Luis is her own age, Isabel hates him because he is cruel and selfish. She doesn’t understand why her parents, who always planned...more
Rhiannon Ryder
The not so secret history buff in me had to have this book as soon as I heard about it, and the cover whore in me agreed. Although the cover whore in me was thoroughly satisfied, the history buff was not.

The Last Song is a teeny tiny book clocking in at 225 pages, which nowadays is almost novella short. It's shortness would not have been an issue (I rather like a little book now and again. It's like a palette cleanser), except for the fact that large amounts of the story was taken up by religiou...more
Katharine
It still boggles my mind as to how few books have been written about the Spanish Inquisition, (especially for younger readers) yet there are myriads of books written about the Holocaust for all ages. The Spanish Inquisition is no less horrendous than the Holocaust, if not more so since it took place over a much, much longer period of time, (more than 300 years.)

Isabel, the young daughter to a wealthy and prestigious family in 15th-century Spain, suddenly has her privileged and cloistered world t...more
Sarah
See the full review on Short & Sweet Reviews.

Much of the book seemed flat to me. While the narration was often vivid and did well at setting the scene, the dialogue frequently felt stilted and unbelievable, even taking into account the fact that the story takes place hundreds of years in the past. Many of the characters are very one-note and can be summed up very simply and see little development throughout the story. They never really rise up to be more complex or have less of a caricature...more
Arila
When I read the book synopsis for the first time I though that Isabel the Catholic was the one who had jew roots, I was kind of shocked (and not in a good way as it seemed serious historical fiction) but I guess that's why it firts caught my attention. It would have been a good idea to find another name for the lead character which is not the same as the queen's, specially if you also mention her in the synopsis.

Isabel is the daughter of a physician who works in the royal court. Her life is eas...more
Elizabeth B
This is an extremely predictable novel that wants to be much more than it is. The blurb fills you with images of far flung, exotic Spain during a time of turmoil, a family in religious strife, a lurking danger – all of the things that make a great historical novel. Unfortunately, this book is scattered in too many ways to be coherent. The characters are not unique individuals; they are just stereotypical maidens of literature that you’ve seen in a dozen different novels. There is nothing to make...more
Abby Pickus
The writing was very good, and the premise was interesting. I liked the idea of a girl discovering that she had Jewish heritage at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. The only thing that I feel was "off" about it is the pacing. I can't quite put my finger on why, but the pacing was weird. Nonetheless, I couldn't stop reading it because I was excited to know what was about to happen next. Well done.
Emma H.
The Last Song by Eva Wiesman was an interesting book set in the late 1400s in Spain. Isabel believes that she is a good Catholic girl living in Toledo, Spain. Her father is a well- respected physician of the king and queen, and her mother is very kind to her. Her parents promise her that when the time comes for her betrothal at age 15, they will engage her to a man she knows and likes. However, the arrival of the Spanish Inquisition changes everything. Suddenly, Isabel is engaged to an abusive m...more
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Young adult fiction writer Eva Wiseman was born in Hungary and currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Eva possesses a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Arts degree, and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba. She has worked as a journalist for the Winnipeg Free Press and the former Winnipeg Tribune, and has taught English Second Language and GED courses to immigrant w...more
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