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The Mapmaker's Daughter

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,117 ratings  ·  175 reviews
A sweeping story of 1492 Spain, exploring how what we know about the world shapes our map of life Valencia, 1492. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issue an order expelling all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity. Amalia Cresques, daughter of a Jewish mapmaker whose services were so valuable that his faith had been ignored, can no longer evade the throne. She must l ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,117 ratings  ·  175 reviews

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Maggie Anton
I was quite disappointed in this novel, as I loved Corona's others. The writing was good, particularly the descriptions of the various locale, but it read more like a travelog than a novel. I found another Goodreads review that pretty much summed up my view so I'm quoting it here:

"I found Amalia's journey impossible to get into. Focal character Amalia Cresques lacks both purpose and dimension. Ever a spectator, she doesn't actually do much of anything over the course of the story. Honestly, she
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
A good read that is nonetheless somewhat anti-climactic. I was hooked into Amalia's story from the beginning. Her lifelong struggles as a conversa facing anti-Semitic persecution in Spain and Portugal were heart rending. However, I felt like this book lost rather than gained narrative momentum as it progressed. When the climax of your book is the Spanish Inquisition (this is revealed early on in an unnecessary and unsuccessful framing device where elderly Amalia reminisces about her life) and th ...more
Regina Lindsey
The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona
3 Stars

Alternating between 1430's and 1492, we follow Amalia's struggle living in Spain during the Inquisition. Amalia was born into a family torn apart by the struggle of dealing with their Judaism. Her father and two sisters have decided to live as a converso. However, her mother and her grandmother are determined to pass down the rituals Jews hold dear. They see Amalia as the vessel for their dream. Amalia's ultimate decision to remain true to her mothe
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had no expectations of The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona when I decided to read it. I had never read this author. I had seen the book in my Goodreads friends feed and was curious. Yet when I didn't have time to finish the book and was forced to return it to the library, I checked it out again because I was so impressed by what I'd read.

In the first two sections of this book the accomplishments of fictional protagonist Amalia were really impressive. As an adolescent she created a signing
Mar 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
The 15th Century in Spain and Portugal was a time of great upheaval with political intrigue, economic ups and downs, social and civil unrest. The tensions between Catholics, Jews, and Muslims were widespread and violence was common. This was a complex and interesting situation that had an effect on all of Europe and parts of Africa.

This is the backdrop for The Mapmaker's Daughter as we see the experiences of one Jewish/Converso family and their daughter Amalia in particular. Despite having such
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
In her usual fashion, Laurel Corona breathes life into a strong female character, wrapping the story in gorgeous prose. Although The Mapmaker’s Daughter does not top Finding Emilie for me, there was so much beauty and strength to be found in this story. The events portrayed are often tragic, but the way the story is told is beautiful.

The main character, Amalia Riba is a true embodiment of strength, and I enjoyed watching the details of her life as they unfolded. Amalia is a Jew in a time when t
Oct 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I first noticed Laurel Corona's The Mapmaker's Daughter when it was added to the Historical Fiction 2014 book list on Goodreads. The buzz caught my attention and by the time the title appeared on Netgalley, I was positively giddy at the prospect of reading it. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was short lived.

Corona relies heavily on macro level ideas and motifs, offering her audience very little substance with which to relate on
Meg - A Bookish Affair
3.5 stars. In "The Mapmaker's Daughter," Amalia's life is changing quickly. She is living in Spain just prior to and during the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. She is a part of an affluent family but her family is of Jewish descent. She and her family are straddling two sides of history. This book was a mixed bag for me. It started out strong for me and then tapered off through the story. Overall, I still liked this book because of the historical detail.

Amalia was a very interesting character
Debby Hammer
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For those of you who love Spain and consider themselves Sephardic in nature, then this is the book for you. Yes, being a Wandering Jew is part of my soul. Life-long learning of the past educators entwined with personal traits in their histories will define us as a people. We are living proof that our existence will continue. We who have descendants will sing and dance and document our future. Books and film are testimonies today.
a sprawling saga of medieval spain and portugal 1432-1492 told through 1st person of amalia riba (cresques) , or better, he family thought of her as ama - lia, god loves leah. they were conversos, jews who went catholic, but like many, secretly kept their jew faith. so amalia is the descendent of the cresque who made the catalonian atlas . she gets in all kinds of situations, living in sagres while her first husband sails for henry the navigator, lives in ...more
Linda Harkins
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The author, a professor of humanities at San Diego City College, identifies deeply with Jews and explains that she is a Jew and a novelist by choice. Her passion for this book's subject matter is evident throughout.

This historical novel begins with reflections of 1432 and is told in the first person through the eyes of Amalia, the mapmaker's daughter who is looking back on her life. Because the story includes both Henry the Navigator and queen Isabella of Spain, the protagonist had to live acros
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Had to force myself to get through this one and skimmed the last 100 pages or so. The content was interesting; the writing just sort of so-so. Endless sentences that did not catch my attention and the paragraphs? Starting and ending wherever - just wherever. I felt like I was reading I did this; I did that; then I did this again; then she did that again.

Not my style of writing at all, but for some, perhaps a tremendous book. But for me, 'too simply written' as my mother would have said.

A shame,
Meryll Levine Page
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in understanding the situation of Jews in Spain before the expulsion, this book offers a chance to feel the fear, joys, and uniqueness of this era. As a historical romance, it's a love story between men and women but also a love story of the land, of learning, and of Jewish life. It may be difficult to suss out what is historically accurate and what's invented, but Corona helps the reader by including a brief discussion at the end of the book on the historicity of her story. ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: from-giveaways

Beautifully written but s-l-o-w, oh so slow, and too full of hatred and sadness.

You'd think a book titled "The Mapmaker's Daughter" would feature more map. Or at least some. The art of mapmaking is barely referenced at all. And this is one of the few books out there that genuinely needs a map. The story takes place all over the southern region of Spain and Portugal. (I took a trip through this region a few years ago and loved revisiting it in the book, though it would have driven me nuts were I
Jessica Jeffers
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
So, fun fact: I misread the descriptive copy on the back of this book and thought that it took place in 1942 Spain -- a World War II novel. So it was a little bit of a surprise to realize that it actually centers around 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and incorporates several real-life historical figures into its plot, such as noted titular mapmaker Jehuda Cresques and Queen Isabella of Christopher Columbus fame.

Going in, I knew basically nothing about the historical context of this book
The Idle Woman
Amalia Cresques is descended from the great family of Majorcan cartographers who produced the Catalan Atlas in 1375 (they are historical figures, though she is invented). As a child growing up in Seville in the 1430s she experiences the struggle of converso life: outwardly living as a Christian, but secretly continuing to celebrate the rituals of her family's Jewish faith. When tragedy strikes her family, Amalia moves to Portugal with her mapmaker father, where he serves Henry the Navigator in c ...more
Dina Tanners
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had never read anything by Laurel Corona until I chanced on this book. I am Jewish, and have read other historical fiction recently with Jewish content and strong Jewish women figures like this book, especially the books by Maggie Anton including the Rashi's Daughters trilogy.

Writing Jewish historical fiction is not easy but I find it fascinating. The author both presented an accurate description of Jewish (and converso/anusim) life in the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century. (Although the
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really liked this book especially since the story concerned a historical period I had not really read much about. In this novel we follow Amalia, a young girl living a secret life. Her father is the highly esteemed map maker to Spanish and Portuguese royalty. Their family, born Jewish, has been baptized to avoid the travails of life as Jews in the 1430's. Amalia's mother secretly continues to practice her Jewish way of life and is teaching Amalia their traditions. Her older daughter rejects Ju ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, own, tour
I was initially intrigued by the idea of a Jew living in Inquisition Spain, especially because of the title. Though Amalia is the daughter of a mapmaker, the designation is a bit misleading. I thought there would be more about the art of drawing maps based on recent discoveries and was hoping for more focus on 15th century exploration. Not so much.

It’s more about Amalia’s inner struggle to follow the religion that is her birthright. The book followers her from her childhood as a converso to her
Marsilla Dewi-Baruch
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I am given an option to rate this book more than 5, I will overwhelm it with 10 stars. Never have I encountered a fiction that tells warm stories of cordial relationship between Jews and muslims. Amalia or Leah's love on Jamil elevates the plot which is heavy with prosecution, stigma and anti-semitism. The edict of expulsion narrated in this book brought so much anger in me of how atrocious Isabella and Ferdinand of Aragon on Jews. But retribution found its way on their daughter Katherine of ...more
Susan Vreeland
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction
In The Mapmaker's Daughter, Laurel Corona authoritatively gives the Jewish oppression in fifteenth century Spain a human face and heart in Amalia Riba, forced to make soul-defining decisions as her world rolls inexorably toward the Inquisition. Peopled with historic figures, her story soars from loneliness to love, tenderness to horror, and from despair to courage. Sentences of startling, hard-won wisdom leap from the page and command our memories not to forget them. Compelling, complex, and com ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
I was hoping for more emphasis on the historical and religious backdrop of this story, instead I forced my way through every cliché one would expect to find in a soap opera targeted at a teenage audience...
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully told tale of a Jewish family’s pilgrimage through Portugal and Spain as they are forced from one home to another because of persecution and edicts forcing them out of their home. The book follows multiple generations, but is told from the viewpoint of one woman whom we meet as a child and leave as an old woman.
I enjoyed the poetry, and the lyrical telling of the story. I am so appalled at the hate that one group slings at another group that is different. I am appalled that
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are several books by this title and this wasn't the one I was looking for, but the one Libby had. The story was more about the struggle of Amalia to live as a Jew and the atrocious treatment of Jews in 15th century Spain and Portugal than it was about map-making and exploration. It was an interesting read, although the author switched from Amalia reminiscing to Amelia living, in a way that didn't help the telling of the story.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Beautiful writing. Noble and inspiring characters. A heartbreaking period in history (1400s in Spain, ie, the Inquisition), yet the grace and courage and strength of faith of the Jews who held fast to their heritage is so very moving. There were graphic sexual scenes that I skipped over altogether, which detracted from the overall beauty of the book. But this author's description of the locations, and the rich development of the characters, made this a meaningful and memorable read.
Anita Rudin
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book about the Spanish Inquisition and the Jews and Moors who were targeted by “holy” Catholics and priests. I learned a lot about this period in Spanish history. It was a little confusing with so many characters introduced and events to remember. The story follows the mapmaker’s daughter as a young girl and leads up to 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain .
Amalia Riba, a Jew, travels throughout Spain and Portugal, first as her father's voice, later as a wife and mother, and later still as a Jew trying to find a place in the world 1432-1492 and during the Spanish Inquisition.

"Anywhere you can be a Jew is home ....and exile is anywhere you cannot."

The success of old age is to die while you still wish to live. To take your last breath still wanting more."

Catalan Atlas

set in Spain and Portugal
Jim Flores
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
A manipulative novel with improbable and hurried plots. main character has no education but manages to become a tutor of languages among others!!!! Casts a biased eye on certain beliefs but fawns over others because the character has a use for them. The map has no bearing and serves as an empty representation.
Polly Poupore-craig
A beautiful story to read while traveling in Spain and Portugal!

This book was captivating and such a relatable way to hear about history. I am so grateful to Laura Corona for telling the stories of the sadly forgotten women of history. The people, places, and action are quite believable...I find myself looking for Amalia as I wander in the places she may have been.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The beginning was so good, but the rest dragged on. I only finished 75% of it before I skipped to the last chapter. I read a review that said if you aren’t familiar with the Inquisition you won’t get the references and that’s absolutely true. I was disappointed because I was so hooked in the first several chapters.
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I have loved reading and writing ever since my older sister came home from first grade to teach me what she had learned that day. My first publications were in the Oakland Tribune in a weekly section for children called "Aunt Elsie's Page," and a newspaper I put out for my family which featured reviews of what I was reading and news about what was happening in the lives of my dolls.

I was lucky eno
“My prayers and dreams are wrapped up together, vague and contradictory. "Let me leave my mark in the world," I say to the air around me. I don't want to feel so invisible, yet I'm torn between wishing to move away from this place and wanting it to be me and I it.” 1 likes
“I understand Jesus perfectly,” Mama tells me. “I just don’t understand Christians, and I don’t think he would either.” 0 likes
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