I just finished reading “Hidden Star” and am recommending it to the two book clubs in which I participate.
“Hidden Star” is a tour de force—your best novel yet—and a significant addition to the history of the Inquisition and the diaspora of the Jews to the Netherlands and the Americas. I did not realize the Inquisition was exported to New Spain—an appalling, shameful stain on the history of the Roman Catholic Church. A friend commented to me when I told him about your book, that the pope should declare a day of atonement worldwide for Catholics for the horrors and murder of innocents during the years of Inquisition. One day! As far as I’m concerned that falls far short of acknowledging and making reparation for the torture and murder of Jews committed in the name of the Almighty.
But back to the book. You accepted the challenge of intertwining the history of the Inquisition and the history of New Spain while telling a spellbinding, modern day story of personal and spiritual loss and recovery. Rachel’s losses—parents, sons, home, marriage—correspond with the spiritual loss of her Jewish ancestry, faith and customs. I appreciated your incorporating the Native American Indian culture and spiritual practice in the characters of Yazzi and Tomas. Your gentle, intelligent depiction of Fr. Nunez, who continuing to serve as parish priest, while acknowledging his Jewish ancestry, skillfully highlights the challenges of integrating past and present family history and spiritual practices. The reader senses Fr. Nunez’s inner spiritual conflict, representative of so many other crypto-Jews and others who question the faith of their childhood.
You dealt so successfully with contemporary adolescent rebellion, poverty, loss, marital break-up, budding romance, spiritual awakening – all in the landscape of a small, remote New Mexican village. Your story has universal appeal, while informing readers of an aspect of Spanish and American history that has been “hidden.”
“Hidden Star” is a wonderful choice for book clubs because it raises so many thoughtful issues. I feel you really captured in words the striking, arid landscape of New Mexico. All of your characters were utterly believable as well. I could picture them in my mind and relate to them. Thanks so much for a wonderful, thoughtful novel.
Mary Kelly O’Donnell
Freelance writer, Treasurer, Denver Woman's Press Club
"I have not only
enjoyed reading Corinne Joy Brown's new novel Hidden
Star, but I have learned so much about the lives,
traditions, and history of the "hidden" Jews
of New Mexico, that I intend to tell everyone I know,
as well as my students at UTEP to add this important
book to their personal libraries. The author truly
engages the reader with vivid descriptions of the
personalities, ideas and journeys of each of the
book's characters. I am deeply impressed with the
story, the way the author tells the story, and the
inspiration it gives the reader to deal with the some
of the challenges that life presents us every
—Rabbi Stephen A.
Founder and Director of
the Anusim Center of El Paso, Texas
"As you read the
pages between the covers, be prepared to enter into a
journey that takes you into a past that most of us do
not fully understand. As I live in the present,
celebrating my faith and culture, I acknowledge a
history that is hidden and not fully comprehended but
felt and embraced with wonder, sorrow, happiness, and
inquiry. It becomes an enigma to try to explain that
what occurred in 1492 could resonate with a reality of
life in the year 2015. Yet, the reverberations
ring true through the passage of time, space and
energy. Enjoy your time reading this story, as the
past is the present and strives to become the
—Lorenzo A. Trujillo
Member, National Panel
Roster of Neutrals
"Hidden Star is an
engaging, fast-moving book, set in a well-realized
southwestern landscape. The book raises important
questions about how history and identity intertwine,
even as the novel itself weaves together the
oft-knotted threads of family, religion, and romance.
An enjoyable read!"
—Dr. Gretchen Starr-LeBeau
Author of "In the
Shadow of the Virgin: Inquisitors, Friars, and
Conversos in Guadalupe, Spain." Princeton
"Hidden Star is an
ambitious, complex novel, spanning from the 17th
Century to modern day, yet easy to read and difficult
to put down. Corinne Joy Brown's thoughtful look at
the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico, then and now, is
enlightening and inspiring."
—Johnny D. Boggs,
six-time Spur Award winner
intricately weaves the gray and faded threads of our
ancestral memories into a rich and colorful tapestry
that comes alive before your eyes. A nostalgic and
—Genie Medina Milgrom
Author of "My
Fifteen Grandmothers and How I Found My 15
Grandmothers (Como Encontre A Mis 15 Abuelas: A
Step-by-Step Guide: Una Guia Paso a Paso)"
“This story unfolds
gradually, with flashbacks to a distant past—which
elicit the sense of recognition and identity. This
novel brings in the
immediacy of history with its riveting story of today,
offset by several historical episodes dealing with the
16th through 19th centuries. This novel carefully
layers the past and present, recalling in some ways
the strategies of Geraldine Brooks’ People of the
Author of "Native
American Picture Books of Change"