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The Turquoise Ring
by Grace Tiffany

Category: Fiction / Historical
0 pages; ISBN: 0425202488

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Turquoise Ring
Grace Tiffany
Berkley, May 2005, $23.95
ISBN: 0425202488

In 1567 Toledo, Spain in the forbidden Jewish Quarter, seventeen years old Leah buys the odd shaped turquoise ring from medal shopkeeper Julian del Rei though doing so means risking her maternal religious background. She gives the ring to her beloved twenty-year-old Shiloh ben Gozon as a token of their love. However, not long afterward she is betrayed.

In 1568 a still stunned Simon decides that hiding his Jewish heritage and beliefs from the Spanish Inquisition remains risky and he wants his baby daughter to grow up safe yet overtly Jewish. Simon flees Spain taking his infant Jessica with him to live as a merchant in Venice. Of all his possessions he smuggles out of Spain, he prizes most the ring that his beloved Leah gave him. In Venice, someone steals his precious ring that he planned to one day give to Jessica. As he struggles to regain what he considers a family heirloom that reminds him to never forget, Shiloh ends up in court battling his most acrimonious business competitor.

Though the review above focuses on Simon, in fact Shakespearean scholar Grace Tiffany retells The Merchant of Venice through the perspectives of five women from the play (Leah, Jessica, Nerissa the maidservant; rich heiress Portia, and Spanish exile Xanthe). , Each tells quite a tale related to the ring and Simon. Readers will appreciate this superb rendition that provides a powerful look at sixteenth century Spain and Venice by the chutzpah rewriting of The Merchant of Venice. Fans will seek previous historical fiction from a delightfully entreating author whose works, MY FATHER HAD A DAUGHTER: JUDITH SHAKESPEARE’S TALE and WILL, provide terrific insight into the life and times of William Shakespeare.

Harriet Klausner


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