THE MOORISH WHORE, a book review

I was delighted to learn about this book. It’s written by former journalist Rebekah Scott who now lives and writes in Spain along the medieval pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. I’ve read a number of her blog posts and was at a meeting of the American Pilgrims on the Camino that she attended. While walking on the Camino we just missed meeting her.  I was NOT disappointed in her latest book.

The novel, THE MOORISH WHORE  begins in the year 1110 and is based on the life an historical Moorish princess named Zaida who became the wife or mistress of Alfonso VI the Christian king of Leon and Castilla. In the days before there was the country we  know as Spain, this tale unfolds mainly in San Fecund, now Sahagún, Spain. Written in the first person, the book is one in which Zaida seeks to set the record straight about her life. She was called a whore, but believed that she was the wife of a king.

As the author notes on the back of the book, this is “a place and time almost lost to history.” And remarkably Rebekah Scott makes his remote time credible and alive to the modern reader. The author has remained faithful to the spirit and history of the times while creating an intriguing story about the life of her heroine.

The “place and time” are almost lost to history, but the locations in the story are not. The book would have been greatly enhanced by the addition of a map. Also, as a reader I wanted to see and experience Alfonso more clearly. He doesn’t really emerge from Zaida’s tale and a great deal of her story turns around him.

In spite of the these minor reservations, I was grabbed on the first page.  “Once I was a princess, a Moorish princess….Alfonso the Christian king of Leon and Castilla carried me off as prize of war.” If you love the medieval world, you will enjoy this well written and carefully researched evocation of a little known time and place.

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About medievalphyllis

I love history and I love writing. I've been working on an historical novel about a medieval viscountess, Ermengarde of Narbonne since 2009. It has been quite a journey and the journey isn't over. Previously I written 6 historical novels for kids, but this is a new challenge.
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