House of Rocamora

Written by Donald Michael Platt
Review by Cynthia McArthur

House of Rocamora is the continuing story of Vicente de Rocamora, former confessor to the Royal House of Spain and former candidate for Inquisitor General, now an exiled and self-circumcised Jew named Isaac.

Vicente has left Spain in his long journey to find himself and peace for his soul. He has lost all he holds dear and must start anew. He has traveled to Amsterdam in 1643, seeking to find a broad-minded society and to study his true calling, medicine. Although many question his desire to start a new career in his forties, they are also flattered to be acquainted with such an illustrious person and impressed by his intelligence and intensity. As years pass, Isaac de Rocamora does find a measure of harmony in his career and new family, but as with everything in his long life, tragedy intertwines with fulfillment, and at the last he finds himself again seeking his soul’s peace.

This book is well-written, though it is a bit slow in the beginning, as Isaac is still unclear about his true path and does some wandering. It will help the reader to have read the first book in this series, Rocamora, to understand the impact of events happening in the early sections of this novel. The story picks up as Isaac begins to see his way and put his plans and ideas into action. I enjoyed both books in the series and look forward to the next, which I hope is not too long in coming.