DIRECT BOOK REVIEWS
BARBAROSSA'S BARB: Heirs of Andalusia
Author: Emily Cotton
Reviewer: Florence Osmund
Rich in political, religious, and personal discord, BARBAROSSA’S BARB: HEIRS OF ANDALUSIA includes plenty of action, deception at every turn, flagrant crimes, and conniving and clever antagonists. All this, and there is still room for an intriguing love story.
It is early 1500s Spain, a few decades into the Spanish Inquisition. The story opens at a banquet held in the home of Governor Mendoza, father of Blanca and future father-in-law of Juan Padilla. But the intended bride and groom’s ambivalence toward each other and Blanca’s secret love for another man make their upcoming arranged marriage uncertain. In attendance is Elias de Pazia—a man torn between joining the clergy and pursuing the love of his life—who is sought after by an array of questionable individuals. Add the atrocious purpose of the Inquisition, power struggles between certain religious and political factions, an intelligent and opinionated stallion, and a renegade priest who thinks he may be possessed by demons, and the story becomes a web of distinct but related plot lines that include an army of interesting characters.
Emily Cotton is a master at managing multiple plot lines that create suspense throughout the course of the book, each one woven into the main story while maintaining its own narrative arc. One has to pay close attention to every scene to keep track of everything that is happening, as skipping over parts will likely cause a disconnect in the story line.
A large cast of dynamic and engaging characters influences the plot and aids in making it a compelling story. Vivid details about them—their internalizations, dialogue, attitudes, behaviors, actions, and relationships—work together to make each one three-dimensional, unique, and relatable. Due to the large number of characters, inclusion of a list of them and their roles would have been helpful.
The amount of research that must have gone into BARBAROSSA’S BARB: HEIRS OF ANDALUSIA is impressive. Cotton skillfully takes historical threads and weaves them in throughout the story. Authentic descriptions of persons, places, and things through the artful choice and ordering of words add dimension to the narrative and make it easy to visualize each scene.
Not all the subplots are resolved in the end, which may bother some readers. However, this does leave room for another book in the series, which will delight others. A thorough proofreading of this book would eliminate the typos and punctuation errors.
On a scale of 1 to 5, BARBAROSSA’S BARB: HEIRS OF ANDALUSIA is rated 4.0 by Direct Book Reviews.