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I grew up hearing that Columbus was Catholic. That's why it shocked me when I heard someone in my church claim that Columbus was Jewish. That's when I began researching the topic and found these claims to be rooted in truth.
Though her story takes place much later Author Paula Rose Michelson begins her second book in the Casa de Naomi series, House of Blessing by laying this foundation. She examines the little known life of conversos who stowed away aboard Columbus's ship headed for a new world ripe with freedom and opportunity. Of course that freedom was short lived. With the Decree of Alhambra in effect for 500 years, these Jews were taught to keep their heritage hidden for fear of uprising against them in the new world. The onset of Hitler's movement and the rise of the KKK led to further withdrawal. Often times these conversos where hiding in plain site, posing as Catholics while privately maintaining their Jewish traditions. If discovered they faced public disgrace and the threat of lost relationships.
That is exactly why Naomi keeps her heritage a secret.
This book begins with the trauma of Naomi leaving her home in Spanish Harlem after being discovered to be a Jew.
As the people of El Barrio express their shock and gossip ensues among the town establishments, Naomi's husband is left to deal with his own surprise and anger at her dishonesty.
Of course Naomi never meant to be dishonest. The lie was a protection. It kept her safe and paved the way for her to help others in her community.
With a prominant position in the area, Naomi was instrumental in rescuing high risk girls from deportation. Most of these girls, like her, were of Jewish heritage. You can read more about that part of the story in book 1.
Now the gig is up and Naomi has fled her life, her home and her new husband.
Taken in by a friend's family, she is introduced to a faith that is rooted in Jewish tradition while professing a Messiah that died for her and rose with full intention of returning for her. This Messianic concept is at first alarming, but then comforting.
Meanwhile, Naomi's husband is on a search that may or may not lead to the restoration of their marriage.
The writing is captivating, the message is faith building and the concept is educational and entertaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I really think you will too. Though book one and two can be read seperately, I suggest reading from the beginning and following it through the series. This saga-like tale will leave you anxious for more.
Casa de Naomi: House of Blessing is available at Amazon andBarnes & Noble.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.
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