The Mapmaker’s Daughter

Written by Laurel Corona
Review by India Edghill

The Mapmaker’s Daughter begins in Spain, in that fortuitous year, 1492. Fortuitous for some. For others, like the Jewish population, not so lucky. Amalia Riba sits waiting for Spanish soldiers to take her away. Where previously she and her family had been valued by the court for their skill at mapmaking, now she has been given a choice – either convert from Judaism to Christianity or be expelled from her home. For Amalia, this situation brings to mind days gone by. As she remembers her earlier life, she can see in her mind’s eye the secret rituals her mother shared with her, though her father did not keep the ways of her people. From her mother, she learns her true identity. She begins to search for a way to remain true to this identity. Her search leads her to danger and forces her to make an ultimate choice: will she convert or will she accept the peril brought by living her life as a Jew?

Amalia is a character readers cannot help but like and admire: she is courageous, stubborn, and smart, and she accepts responsibility for her choices. Corona explores the unfamiliar world of Renaissance Spain, painting vivid pictures of the court of Henry the Navigator and the way of life in Muslim Granada. A very good read!