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The Last Song

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  61 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,119)
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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
Donna
THE LAST SONG introduced me to a part of history that I don’t know too much about outside of the Inquisition’s persecution of witches. The Jews having to outwardly convert to Catholicism in order to save their lives is something I’ve known about but really only in passing and not in any depth. I knew of the terror that the Inquisition struck in people, the religious fervor it riled up and the hundreds of thousands of lives it stole but THE LAST SONG gave me a look from a slightly different persp ...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
Manon-Marie
Isabel, 15 ans, est une jeune catholique privilégiée et choyée par sa famille. Son insouciance prend fin lorsque ses parents lui annoncent qu’elle doit épouser Luis, membre d’une très vieille et très estimée famille catholique. Mais ces fiançailles sont loin de la réjouir car le jeune homme est odieux et cruel. Rien à voir avec Yonah, le fils d’un artisan juif qu’Isabel vient tout juste de rencontrer. Mais entre l’intolérance religieuse et l’Inquisition, être juif est très dangereux, surtout pou ...more
Susan
The daughter, Dona Isabel, of Queen Isabella's physician discovers that her parents are not really Catholics. They are marranos living as Christians but really are Jews. This is the time here most Jews and Muslims are persecuted during the Inquisition in Spain in 1491. To further protect Doña Isabel, they insist she marry a cruel son, Luis, of her father's friend from the royal court. However Luis "tells" on her father. A letter informs that Luis has Jewish grandparents which is how Isabel gets ...more
Gabs
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.

1.5 stars

The Spanish Inquisition is one of those things that got skipped over in my history class. I remember hearing the name, but none of the details. That's what attracted me to the Last Song, basically; I love historical fiction, especially when it deals with historical events that don't really get a lot of attention.

The book ended up telling me some things about the Spanish Inquisition. That's basically the reason I tacke
...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
Shelley Daugherty
This book explores one family's life during the Spanish Inquisition. A heartfelt look at what it is like to live in fear of exposure during a time of strife for many people. I have read little on this subject so it was nice to have this part of history explained to me in such detail. I had no idea that Jews were a prime target during the Inquisition. This book opened my eyes to many things such as arranged marriages, buying passages to freedom, the treatment of slaves during this time period, an ...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
Beth Lind
In synagogue, we like to talk about how over time the Jews were persecuted but they didn't all die so let's eat. That oversimplification of the history of the Jews rather sums up how this story evolves. Isabel is the daughter of the court physician and she has lived a comfortable, untroubled Catholic life while the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition were playing out all around her. Her parents have arranged her marriage to the son of an old Catholic family in an attempt to secure her safety from ...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
Sherrie
I was pleased to be approved for my request of The Last Song through Net Galley and Tundra Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. Isabel lives a life of privilege and wealth in Toledo, Spain and has few worries while others are suffering during the Spanish Inquisition. When it comes to light that Isabel's family are converts from Judaism her father is arrested and beaten. Isabel must use her strength and her intelligence to learn who she really is and how she can save her family. The La ...more
kim
I picked up this book because of the interesting cover. The synopsis also sounded interesting, and I decided I wanted to read the book. I had heard of the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ but I really didn’t know much about it, and I thought this would be a good way to learn. When I picked the book up, I did not realize it is written for young adults, though I probably should have guessed this based on the thickness of the book! The good — the book is a quick, easy read and I learned something new. The not ...more
Sarah-Hope
Last week I wrote about Voyage of Strangers, a YA novel set during the era of the Spanish Inquisition and of Columbus’ voyages to the “new” world. While written for a slightly younger audience (Random House recommends it for ages 10 and up), The Last Song also balances an engaging narrative with a frank depiction of the wrongs committed by the Inquisition.

Eva Wiseman’s The Last Song is told in the voice of fourteen year old Doña Isabel de Cardosa, daughter of the physician to their majesties, Is
...more
Erikka
The Spanish Inquisition is not a time period I had read a lot about, so I was excited to receive this ARC about this fascinating and horrifying era. Having read one of Wiseman's books before, I know she typically writes about the Jewish experience at significant points in history. As an interesting story about Jews in 1490s Spain, it's pretty solid. It shows a great amount of respect for history and the Jewish faith, and I think if a student was studying the Spanish Inquisition, it would be a go ...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
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
Rocy 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
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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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