August 2, 2011
Trees Cry For Rain by Dr. Jeri Fink
The story sets out during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, where those who did not follow the "one true God" were tortured, raped, baptized against their will, had their children stolen and even brutally murdered. It was a time when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ruled the land and systematically cleansed it of all known religious atrocities. If you were Jewish, you paid lip service to the Catholic faith while practising your own faith in complete secrecy.
It was a time when you didn't trust your friends nor your family and everyone was pointing the finger at another in hopes to save their own skin. Torture was common practise to illicit those people who may be worshipping a religion that was banned.
When the guards arrive to arrest Rozas and Lucas, Rozas enlists family friend, Rafael, to take their three daughters and hide them. Giving them all their money and tying a piece of a key around each of them, she vows they will all find each other again one day. Knowing their deaths are at hand, the parents stand their ground in order for the four to reach safety.
Catalina, Zara and Marianna follow Rafael through the tunnel that leads them to safety and from there they fight every day for survival. Along their journey they are separated and each must face their futures against all odds in order to survive.
After Rozas is tortured for information about her daughters, she refuses and is burned at the stake, taking her love for her family with her. However, after 500 years has passed the past comes back to haunt three woman and the man with the fiery eyes. When Aliki, Shira, Ria and Cole meet up, they soon come to realize that in some strange way, they were all meant to be together.
I thought the depictions of the Spanish Inquisition to be quite graphic and detailed. The writer doesn't throw any punches when it comes to the atrocities that must have ensued during this murderous and troublesome time of our history. To be persecuted for having a belief is not only asinine but totally appalling. It is almost unbelievable that so many people could be killed in the name of God. Dr. Fink writes with much depth and information and truly draws you into the story.
The innocence of young Catalina and her sickly plight was heartbreaking to endure as you read her story. The situation in which Zara found herself in will leave you shaking your head. How any priest or nun could perform such acts with murderous hate is truly an exasperation. The glee in which some of these characters took in the barbarities that they attributed will leave you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.
I wasn't as fond of the future aspect of the story. The flow between the two time frames didn't flow as nicely as I would have liked it. I also found it to be a bit wooden and stiff. How the four came together wasn't written with as much detail as I would have liked. I also found several editorial issues where sentences began and/or ended in mid-sentence. I usually bypass a few but when it becomes apparent the book has more than its fair share, it kind of draws away from the story. You have to stop and pull yourself out of the story in order to understand the sentence/paragraph structure.
All in all though it was a worthy read, anyone who loves historical pieces will be sure to enjoy this.
The past crashes ruthlessly into the present in this gripping novel of betrayal. Rozas, a 15th century Secret Jew is tortured by the Inquisition - and linked, 500 years later, to four strangers in a Manhattan park.