A Bed of Spices - Barbara Samuel **3.5**

Heads up to anyone reading the kindle version: the book ends at the 80% mark (at least mine did). Which I learned after picking the book up today at the 79% mark and then got to the end 4 pages later. Which was kind of annoying.

Anyway, on to the book itself.

Rica and Solomon do experience love at first sight, which I'm not a fan of, but considering, I think the author handled it well. By the end she did have me believing that Rica and Solomon were soul mates. However, in the beginning, I think I cared more about what happened with Etta than I did with Rica. That is until Etta seemed to get a little loopy and I no longer had a grasp on Rudolph's character. He went from seeming normal, to a religious nut-job, to mentally unbalanced. He was kind of all over the place. But then I became more invested in Rica and Solomon again and was rooting for them.

While the writing is good, there were a few places I found the story-telling a little vague. Some people might like this, but I prefer the detail. For example, I think it would have helped if the author had expanded on the relationship between Christians and Jews a little more in the beginning. We are told Rica and Solomon's relationship is forbidden, but never why. It wasn't until a little later that there is a reference to them being beheaded for their relationship that the reader really understands just how verboten it was. Perhaps the author is assuming readers are more familiar with medieval Jewish history, but I am not one of those readers, and it would have helped me to have a little more background.

Another example, was the fire. If someone hadn't read the prologue they might had had trouble following what happened. The reader knows that Jews are being arrested in other cities and some were burned. Then Rica sees smoke coming from Strassburg and that is all we get about the this huge, tragic fire that killed two thousand Jews! Such an event had so much potential for drama and story-telling and it was largely glossed over. It seemed a shame.

Still, this was a well done book overall and I largely enjoyed it.