The Alhambra Decree
by Lilian Gafni
Genres: historical fiction
Word Count: 120,000
The year is 1491, and sixteen-year-old Isabella Obrigon is kidnapped from her privileged life. When told she isn’t of Spanish noble blood, but rather the child of a Jewish woman who died in childbirth, Isabella becomes personally embroiled in the terror of the Inquisition. She finds herself imprisoned in the famed fortress of Alhambra, where an encounter with mysterious Miguel Costa impels her to accept having been adopted and to vow to find her birth parents.
The Spanish monarchs fight to unify Spain as a Catholic nation; as soon as the war is over, the Queen Isabella must fulfill her vow to the grand inquisitor to rid Spain of all heretics. She decrees the Jews’ exile.
Isabella Obrigon must decide whether to follow her heart and join her endangered brethren seeking exile, or stay and live a lie.
Lilian, how did you come up with the title for your book? Does it have any special meaning?
I wanted to show that a thing of beauty could also be detrimental. For example, Isabella’s mother called her my flower. When Spain expelled its Jews from Castile they lost their finest ‘flowers’ consisting of artisans, workers, traders, carpenters, farmers, smiths, jewelers, etc., and consequently draining their economy for the following centuries.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The story is told through Isabella’s eyes as she becomes aware with the suffering of others, and as she embarks on a profound voyage of self-discovery.
Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
To have hope to choose a better life, and to become the master of one’s own destiny. For Isabella it’s the loss of innocence where her faith and allegiance are tested. And the message to the monarchs is, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
What would/could a reader or reviewer say about this book that shows they “get” you as an author?
I hope a reader or reviewer is entertained by the story while getting a comprehensive view on those horrible times.
Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
“I came away thoughtful and grateful that I had read this book.”
Where can people learn more about you?