Review: Voyage of Strangers by Elizabeth Zelvin

Voyage of Strangers

Pub Date   Sep 30 2014

The year is 1493, and young Jewish sailor Diego Mendoza has returned from Columbus’s triumphant first voyage with tales of lush landscapes, rivers running with gold, and welcoming locals. But back home in Spain, Diego finds the Inquisition at its terrifying peak, and he must protect his spirited sister, Rachel, from betrayal and death. Disguising herself as a boy, Rachel sneaks onto Columbus’s second expedition, bound for the new lands they call the Indies. As the Spaniards build their first settlements and search for gold, Diego and Rachel fall in love with the place, people, and customs. Still forced to hide their religious faith and Rachel’s true identity, the brother and sister witness the Spaniards’ devastation of the island in their haste to harvest riches.

This unflinching look at Columbus’s exploration and its terrible cost to the native Taino people introduces two valiant young people who struggle against the inevitable destruction of paradise.

Review:

When I saw this up for review on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to review this! I couldn’t believe my luck when I was approved! First off, I have wanted to read a story with Columbus and about his voyages for a very long time…while this story does not entirely center on that…it still was an amazing read! Diego and Rachel made such an impression on me. Their story is extraordinary and Diego’s duty to protect Rachel and his brotherly love to her is admirable and courageous! The adventure they embark on is so entertaining and exciting. And the danger they face will have you clinching your teeth and holding your breath, waiting to find out what the outcome will be. I know….this all sounds rather dramatic, but it is true.

I was also really drawn into the setting and period of the story…..one feels like they are actually there on the ship and in the first settlements, living the lives they are living. How wonderful is that? I wanted this story to continue and I would love to read more about Diego and Rachel’s adventures….

I was very impressed with how the author portrayed Columbus as well….you see a side to him that you might not read about in the history books. And we all love a good sea adventure!! You will get that in this book! I thoroughly enjoyed discovering and learning about the Taino people as well and found them really fascinating and would like to learn more about them and their culture. I will definitely be on the lookout for more books from this author and I highly recommend you read this story.

Stephanie Moore Hopkins

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