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Young Adult Fiction Europe

The Last Song

by (author) Eva Wiseman

Initial publish date
Oct 2014
Europe, Prejudice & Racism, Jewish
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


Living in Toledo, Spain, and raised a devout Catholic, Isabel cannot know her privileged life is about to unravel. The tolerant society she is used to has been turned upside down by the Spanish Inquisition and the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada. Now even the walls have ears, and no one is immune to rumor, suspicion, a resentful servant, or a neighbor bearing a grudge. Still, Isabel feels safe from the burnings and torture. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Then Isabel is betrothed to an abusive man she thoroughly dislikes, and for the first time, her doting parents are united against her. The reason becomes all too clear when they reveal to her their family's Jewish roots. By marrying their only child into a respected old Catholic family, they hope to protect her and dispel any suspicion that they have not always been devout Christians. Despite their efforts, Isabel's father is arrested and tortured by the Inquisition, and it's up to Isabel to concoct a desperate plan to save his life - and her own.

About the author

Eva Wiseman is a Fitzhenry and Whiteside author.

Eva Wiseman's profile page

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR The Last Song:

"With spies and informers on all sides, the story builds to a gripping climax ... readers will easily be caught by the young girl's personal heartbreak and conflict and will want to find out more." - Booklist

"...The climax of the novel will set the reader in a spiraling whirlwind of intense emotions. This novel is a great read for young adults who enjoy historical fiction dealing with horrifying persecution and the will to survive." - VOYA

"...a quickly paced, accessible introduction to a vicious era." - The Toronto Star

Librarian Reviews

The Last Song

Geoffrey Bilson Award-winner Eva Wiseman’s latest novel, The Last Song, is sure to garner the same critical attention as her previous novels for its rhythmic and lyrical prose and lush descriptions of setting that cement the reader in the sights and sounds of Medieval Spain and the harsh brutalities of the Spanish Inquisition.

The setting is Toledo on the cusp of the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Isabel, a devout Catholic, is heartbroken when her loving parents betroth her to a vile young man. Upon discovering that they are doing it to protect her from the Inquisition’s finding out the truth about her Jewish ancestry, Isabel befriends a Jewish silversmith, Yonah. When her father is arrested on suspicion of heresy, Isabel must rely on her courage and intelligence to save her family.

Although the novel is a little heavy handed in its political and social framework, Isabel is a strong and insightful character whose voice will resonate with readers as she lingers long after one has finished reading. Isabel’s transition from a devout Catholic to identifying herself as a Jewish woman is believable because her process is subtle, and she continues to have spiritual questions at the novel’s end. The ending, however, comes on rather abruptly with a few plot threads — particularly her relationship with Yonah — also left unanswered, making me wonder if Wiseman intends to continue Isabel’s story. Let us hope so.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.

User Reviews

The Last Song

This doesn't seem like it should be classified as Children's Fiction. The subject matter seems very dark for children, perhaps mislabeled?

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