A Ceiling Made of Eggshells

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. May 2020. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062878199.
Gr 5-8–Readers first meet Loma, a young Jewish girl living in late 15th-century Spain, when she is seven years old. Readers watch as she navigates life as the granddaughter of a powerful Jewish leader. As the title of Levine’s new novel suggests, Spain in the late 1400s was a perilous place for Jewish people. This was the time of the Spanish Inquisition, during which the Jewish community was persecuted and ultimately exiled from Spain. Loma’s grandfather is one of the wealthy Jewish figures who uses his connections, money, and skills to help Jewish people and tries to prevent forced conversions to Christianity. As her grandfather’s traveling companion across Spain, Loma gets a firsthand look at the superstitions, ceremonies, and sacrifices that governed daily life during a cataclysmic and dangerous time. Loma witnesses, up close, King Ferdinand’s and Queen Isabella’s efforts to “defeat the infidel,” meaning Spain’s Muslim people. She also observes her grandfather’s efforts to keep her people temporarily safe from harm. Although she loves and respects her grandfather, Loma is also devoted to her parents and siblings and looks forward to being married and starting her own family. She is loyal to her beloved grandmother’s memory and is a loving aunt to the “littles,” as she refers to her growing number of nieces and nephews. Levine skillfully juxtaposes the larger religious battles taking place in Spain with Loma’s dreams for her future.
VERDICT This story of adventure and bravery under unstable circumstances will appeal to mature readers who enjoy historical fiction and tales of courage.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing