Review by Ben Pashkoff:
Non-tampered with Review
First and foremost, I want it stated quite clearly that there is most definitely a story here that the author wants to tell. The story has depth and interest.
OK, now for the other side of the coin:
My first issue was exactly HOW to categorize this novel – Is it an Historical Fiction? Is it an alternative History? or perhaps it can even be considered a Morality narration? While there are elements of each of these in the story, there are also items and elements in the story that seem to discount categorization in either of them? If I think of this a Historical Fiction, from which point? Most Historical Fiction is based on History and either fills in a gap or responds to a question of “What if…?” Well, here the setting is completely too contemporary and too familiar to me to consider it as a complete fiction. There are no gaps that it is telling me that it is filling in. The element of the fictitious is just not convincing to me. As an Alternative history, the same. As a morality story, it is too much in evident and the depth of the characters and dialog is lacking in conviction or believably.
Finding and holding on to the thread of the story is a bit of a challenge. A good novel has to have a well developed: plot,dialog, and character. In this novel, there seems to be multiple stories all vying for the attention of the reader (Spoiler alert).
The plot seems to be either the re-awakening of this element of a separate yet very Jewish -like hidden society (Hoshiyan), or is it in the exploration and discovery of a chapter of the Inquisition? (Which, by the way, the technical aspects of the discovery and excavation were actually the most enjoyable aspects of the story!!!). Or is it in the exploration of the relationships of friends and family in close proximity and how each relates to history and their Jewish-ness.
I found the dialog in many places to be non-convincing as to reality and at times some of the detail did not seem to add to the story in a convincing manner. (How much is used on “love-at-first-sight or “young-love”???)
As to character, the main protagonist is interesting and could be developed more, but he seems to have a lack of depth. He Definitely needs mre work in development.