DiscoverHistorical Fiction

Acts of Hope


Worth reading 😎

Rousing historical fiction packs a punch!

Perditus qui haesitat.

Acts of Hope is a prodigious tome of epic proportions. Set in the 16th century, the story adeptly navigates the serpentine coils of political, cultural and ecclesiastical clashes in multiple countries from England to the Holy Land. Also pirates. Forgeries. Narrow escapes. Double-crosses and desperate battles. Revenge and forgiveness. Courage in the face of overwhelming odds. True love. And hope.

The story opens off the Portuguese coast as Diego Lopes and his daughter Maria flee the Inquisition. Their ship is bound for Diego’s estate in Bristol, England. When Maria’s father dies later as a result of wounds suffered during his arrest per the Inquisition, Maria takes over his substantial shipping business, becoming one of the wealthiest women in the world.

But as a recent immigrant to Elizabethan England, Maria must navigate the tumultuous cross-currents of vicious religious persecution. She must also learn what she has to do to stay Jewish, and what she has to hide to stay safe. Maria eventually marries the dashing Englishman, Doctor William Ames. Together, they become involved in Tiberias, a refuge for Jews fleeing the Inquisition.

In Part II, set in the Holy Land, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian characters percolate throughout the story. We meet Ari, Maria’s former betrothed. He’s trying to free the Church from “the clutches of the Inquisition” and expose the Holy Office as a sham. He boards a ship bound for Rome. But it’s attacked by pirates.

Enter Ya’akov Koriel, captain of the fiercest Jewish pirates that sail the seas. He eventually teams up with a Jewish innkeeper, Esther. Together, they learn to fight a different kind of battle. So does Ari when he meets a Muslim girl, Aisha.

It gets complicated. But Elsant pulls it off with a deft and capable touch.

Meticulously researched and cleanly organized, each chapter glides seamlessly into the next. Just when you think the plot is going one way, it heads in another direction. A robust triumverate of three-dimensional characters, a full-bodied plot and a nimble storyline keep you on your toes. Each story arc tucks in neatly. Far from predictable, this intriguing read will keep you turning pages until The End.

Reviewed by

Kristine earned her Bachelor's degree in Communication/Print Media from Biola University. Her background is in marketing and public relations.

Kristine serves on the Board of her local library.

A frank but fair reviewer, she reads an average of 300+ books a year through a wide variety of genres.

Chapter 1: Bristol and London

About the author

I am a retired doctor living in Jerusalem, Israel. I’ve always been interested in Jewish history. Acts of Dreams is the concluding volume of my trilogy on the Inquisition. view profile

Published on September 11, 2020

110000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

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