Monday, June 13, 2011

Death and the Inquisition

I am so completely in the mood for something cheerful after the last two books I read.

Amy Ackley's 'Sign Language' is a really, really, really good YA that had me getting all misty-eyed. It covers a period of about three years in Abby's life; a period during which Abby's father is diagnosed with, suffers from, and eventually dies of cancer. It is not a sunny, on-the-beach kind of book. At the start of the book, Abby is twelve, going on thirteen. She's fifteen at the end. So, during a time when most girls already have it rough just dealing with hormonal changes and the shift to the brutal world of high school, Abby's family is falling apart around her. By the book's close, Abby has gotten to a place of hope, if not happiness, but the journey there is not easy on her or the reader.

'Josefina's Sin' by Claudia H. Long is a book that I picked up because it is set in New Spain during the period of the Inquisition and features the poetess Sor Juana as a central character. It's a decent piece of historical fiction, set in a time and place not normally seen in fiction. It was, of course, as these things so often are, full of courtly intrigues and backstabbing bitches and adultery and guilt and just basketsfull of High Drama and there wasn't much unique about its country-miss-goes-to-court plot. Nor were the characters anything revelatory, and most were little more than stereotypes, with the occasional step over the line into caricature. However, the nuns--Sor Juana and her sisters--were interesting and the villains were so villainous that I kept reading just so I could get to the part where they got their comeuppance.

Now it's definitely time for something less drama-y.

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