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The Last Song

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  222 Ratings  ·  64 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 ...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
Mar 07, 2012 Lyndz rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 13, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
Feb 21, 2012 Val rated it really liked it
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****************************************
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
[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
Mar 03, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
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
Diane S ☔
Mar 05, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
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
Apr 22, 2012 Colleen rated it it was amazing
"...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
May 01, 2012 Iris rated it it was ok
[review copy from Netgalley
Originally published here:]

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
Rhiannon Ryder
Aug 05, 2012 Rhiannon Ryder rated it it was ok
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
Drunkenness Books
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 ...more
Carrie Slager
Sep 16, 2014 Carrie Slager rated it did not like it
[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
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
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
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
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
Nov 25, 2014 Sarah-Hope rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
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
Heather Pearson
Mar 07, 2013 Heather Pearson rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, canadian
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
Beth Lind
Oct 12, 2014 Beth Lind rated it liked it
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
Aug 21, 2014 Megz rated it liked it
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
Jun 15, 2012 Britta rated it liked it
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
Oct 06, 2014 Erikka rated it liked it
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 ...more
Agustina Gonzalez
Aug 25, 2014 Agustina Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: two-star-reviews
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
{ 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
Apr 06, 2012 Katharine rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2012 Arila rated it really liked it
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
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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 ...more
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