A Potion for a Widow

Written by Caroline Roe
Review by Lorraine Gelly

In the fifth installment of the Chronicles of Isaac of Girona, the blind Jewish physician decidedly takes a back seat, as though you went to a major sporting event and the star player stayed on the bench. In July 1354, the author takes Yusuf, Isaac’s young assistant, away from Girona on a trip to Sardinia to present himself to King Pedro. The plot unravels as Yusuf goes to the king’s encampment, then to Valencia, and back to Girona.

There is very little sense of time or place; save for the fact the characters used horses and had to be on guard for bandits, it could have taken place at any time and anywhere. This novel is particularly disappointing because Isaac, his interesting family, and their life in the “call” (Jewish quarter) are missing. The blind physician is such a strong character that this story feels flat without him.

There was little mystery, either, and the plot was too rambling. I hope in future books that Ms. Roe will give us more of the characters that have made this series so interesting to its fans.