Early Praise

Kirkus Reviews says:
“A well-constructed, highly informative historical novel.”

Clarion Reviews says:
“Based on true events and real people, At Vitoria pays homage to a community with strong roots and family ties. The little-known historical details make this an eye-opening and satisfying read.”

World’s Best Footballer on OnlineBookClub.org review:
★★★★★ At Vitoria by Marcia Riman Selz is an exceptional historical novel that effortlessly evokes a spectrum of emotions through its vivid storytelling. The narrative masterfully captures the reader’s feelings, from the outrage over Antonio’s and the Conversos’ brutal execution in Segovia to Vidal Crevago’s despair with each journey. The weight of Benjamin Crevago’s secret, the sorrow over Isaac’s demise, Cassela’s suffering and her tragic end, the touching romance between the orphans Rina and Avram, and the ultimate triumph in the establishment of the Plaza of the Spanish Jews in Viktoria—all these elements are portrayed with dramatic flair.

The novel’s seamless integration of Hebrew terminology alongside English translations enriches the reading experience, eliminating the need for frequent glossary consultations.

My admiration for this literary work is boundless. It earns a perfect score for setting an evocative prologue that leads into a narrative told with clarity and precision. The author’s meticulous word selection and attention to detail immerse the reader in the story, making one feel like an eyewitness to the unfolding events. The book’s impeccable editing and absence of errors contribute to its excellence. I wholeheartedly endorse “At Vitoria” to anyone interested in regional and modern history, social policy, and those who cherish a blend of drama, fiction, and factual storytelling.

The narrative’s vivid portrayal effectively evoked a spectrum of emotions throughout the story. The outrage over Antonio and the other Conversos’ brutal public execution in Segovia was palpable, as was Vidal Crevago’s recurring sense of hopelessness post-mission, Benjamin Crevago’s inner turmoil due to a guarded secret, the sorrow from Isaac’s demise, the tragic narrative of Cassela’s mistreatment and death, the touching romance between the orphaned Rina and Avram, and the uplifting sense of reconciliation with the establishment of the Plaza of the Spanish Jews in Viktoria, celebrating the harmonious relationship between the Basque and Jewish communities.

I didn’t dislike anything about this book. The author’s skillful integration of Hebrew terminology alongside English translations added a layer of accessibility, eliminating frequent references to the glossary.

My appreciation for the book is complete, with no aspects falling short of my expectations. I would rate this book a 5-stars rating.

Marcia Fine for GoodReads says:
★★★★★ I couldn’t put this book down. With a glossary, bibliography and questions for reading groups this is a good book club choice. Brava!

Ann for GoodReads says:
★★★★★ I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves reading about history especially church and Jewish history.

Michelle for GoodReads says:
★★★★★ I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute reading it. Thanks Ms. Selz for your obsession and for sharing the story with us.

★★★★★
I bought this as a gift and my friend was delighted to receive it!

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 25, 2023

“The subject matter is unusual and uplifting! It shows how genuine love of neighbor can triumph amidst abject evil.”

★★★★★
I love historical fiction.

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 27, 2021

“This is a great read, a great history, a need to know history, and a sad history. It is personal, historical, uplifting and tragic at the same time. Marcia Selz writes well, tight and easy to read and compelling. The story is about the Jews of the Basque region of Spain and their history as told through the history of particular families. It shows that the roots of the Nuremberg Laws in Germany against the Jews were in part copied from the laws against Jews in Spain. I highly recommend this book.”

★★★★★
A Wonderful & Interesting Read!

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 7, 2020

“At Vittoria is a wonderful and interesting read that taught me more about life in the Jewish community during the Spanish Inquisition. Such a great reminder of how different people with different backgrounds can all get along and work together supporting each other’s community needs. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it for book clubs and adult education learning!”

★★★★
Sad and timely

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 29, 2019
“This was a very interesting and moving account of another one of the mass tragedies in human history. The truth based story of how a community decides to change or migrate as a result of extreme political changes is as timely now as in the 15th century. The writer’s style was not as good as the story, but it is the story that matters. This is well-worth reading if you are a student of history, Jewish or not.”

★★★★★
I enjoyed the book very much!

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 12, 2021

“Very well written. The author has a talent that makes you feel the emotions of the characters through her words. I enjoyed the book very much.”

★★★★★
Great novel!

Reviewed in the Spain 🇪🇸 on May 25, 2018

“I loved the book! There were 3 things that specially surprised me:
1st the fluidity of the narrative being the first book of this author
2nd the emotion that you can feel in many passages of the book: from love to anger, and from joy to sadness.
And 3rd the love and respect how the author covers the fact that the Christian citizens of Vitoria respected the Aljama cemetery for nearly 500 years.
You can feel as you read the book all the effort, research, love & passion that the author used to write it. Go ahead & read it! You will love it!

San Diego Jewish World says:
“Selz’s depiction of the home lives of the extended Crevago family are so evocative, at times I felt I was sitting down with the family at the main meal.”

Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite says:
★★★★★ “At Vitoria” will introduce readers to the Jews and Christians who resided in Vitoria, Spain. Readers are taken on a journey along with the Crevago family and see how they managed to live in harmony with their Christian neighbors. This historical novel is informative and the trauma undergone by the Jews during that period is heartrending and palpable to readers.

kislany for OnlineBookClub.org says:
★★★★ out of 4 stars. The book grabbed me from the moment the Crevagos were heatedly discussing a particular cemetery. The argument made me curious to learn the fate of said resting place. By the end of the story, however, I’ve learned more than expected about a dark time in Europe’s history.

Christine Kelley, Claremont Graduate University says:
Thank you again for coming to CGU and giving such a great talk Wednesday. I wrote a blog post about it for our CDO blog.

Blueink Review says:
“… At Vitoria should hold strong appeal to students of Jewish history and tradition.”

★★★★★ A Different Story about the Spanish Inquisition.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 7, 2019

“This is a well-researched historical novel about Medieval Spain which gave birth to the Inquisition as seen through the eyes of a family from a town, Vitoria, where Jews and Christians led a peaceful and mutually respectful coexistence. Selz seamlessly integrates a feel for the Jewish ghetto and the sacred and mundane lives of its inhabitants in a sensitive manner. The literary convention of starting and ending in 1952, with the middle section detailing a ten year period 500 years earlier, gives current context to a landmark in contemporary Vitoria-Gasteiz which hearkens back to that period and shows that interfaith contacts were not always contentious and illustrates the strong desire of the current residents to continue to honor a centuries old promise. It is a pleasure to read an account of a dark period in history in light of something uplifting.”

★★★★★
Well Researched and easy to read

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 9, 2018

I recently read this book for a book group and was so impressed by the thoroughness of the research done by the author. This was her first novel and the entire group felt that it was well written and easy to read. I learned a lot about the people of At Vitoria and their honor and commitment to their promise to the Sephardic Jews of Medieval times. I look forward to the next novel by Marcia Selz.”

★★★★★
Bringing History Alive

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 10, 2018

“Once a researcher, always a researcher. The detail of the 15 century is impressive. While the book reads and flows as a novel, it provides a wonderful opportunity to get under the skin and into the hearts of the characters. I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute reading it. Thanks Ms. Selz for your obsession and for sharing the story with us.”

★★★★★
A real page turner!

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 10, 2018

“A great read of a gripping story which is all the more powerful because it is true. The final denoument took me by surprise and was very moving. The author’s clear depiction of the main characters helped outline the challenging decisions which needed to be made by this community, which was regularly faced with impossible obstacles. I highly recommned this book.”

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EJS

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 4, 2018

Selz obviously researched the history of the period. Her fictional characters are interesting and well-described. They bring the history and the story to life. I found this book well-written and hard to put down. Highly recommended: – 5 stars!
2 people found this helpful

Amazon Customer

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 7, 2018

I am about half way through this book and I’m enjoying it very much. I highly recommend it.
One person found this helpful

FJ

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 20, 2022

At Vitoria is a novel that you’ll think about long after you read the epilogue. Despite its primarily 15th C. setting, the story deeply resonates with our world today. There’s a lot to admire here, including the extensive research that led to this powerful piece of work. But what stood out to me most is the extraordinary world-building. Reading this novel is a visceral experience. The reader feels the texture of this world, due to the rich detail and sensitive observations about human nature. Although the story is rooted in a particular time and place, we always sense the weight of larger themes and universal truths. Highly recommend.
LL

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 18, 2022

My family fled Spain during the Inquisition and settled in Holland. I’ve always been curious about what their lives might have been like in Spain, and where they might have lived. This book provides a warm and detailed history of life in Spain and the relationship of those who fled with Spain. It is a wonderful story.

Sally

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 18, 2021

This book is such an important, unknown piece of history. It is so well-written and fascinating – I literally couldn’t put it down- read it in two days. Not only a story of history, but one that deals with the complexity of human nature – historical anti-semitism, political violence, religious conflict and individuals rising above it to help each other. As a Messianic Jew, this book had inspiring meaning for me. Thank you, Ms. Selz – I love your book!
Marcia Fine

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 26, 2018

Marcia Riman Selz’s novel At Vitoria: A City’s Medieval Promise Between Christians and Jews shines a light on an area I am familiar with because I’ve written two novels about the Inquisition. I know the history; however, when an author takes the historical facts and crafts characters who make that history come alive, it’s a five star book! Selz explores the details of the Jewish community in Basque country, a part of northern Spain they were hoping the Evil Queen would forget to include in her expulsion. Beautifully written, the author takes us on the journey with the Crevago family—doctors who save many lives, exquisite shoe makers who endear themselves to many and strong women who are bound in their roles. The author captures the pain of displacement so I felt I was in the room when decisions were made. Certain scenes will remain with me. I couldn’t put this book down. With a glossary, bibliography and questions for reading groups this is a good book club choice. Brava!

Sarah K.

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 2, 2021

This carefully researched novel tells the fascinating story about the Jewish experience in Spain at the time of the Inquisition. But what makes it remarkable is Selz’s story-telling ability. The characters are compelling, the plot is gripping, and the story moves at a brisk pace. This is first-rate historical fiction, every bit as good as Ken Follett’s work.

Sharon Joy

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 7, 2020

“At Vittoria” is an emotional, gripping and fascinating story. I learnt so much about the Jewish community during the Spanish Inquisition and am so inspired by how well researched and beautifully written the book is. Thank you Marcia Riman Selz for such an educational and incredible novel. I highly recommend it 🙏

Amazon Customer

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 2, 2019

This historical novel by first-time author Marcia Riman Selz is a real page turner, beautifully blending the true story of the traumatic expulsion of Jewish communities from Spain during the Inquisition of 1492 with heartwarming and heartrending portraits of the people reacting to and surviving the experience. At Vitoria is both informative and moving with its detailed descriptions of what actually took place in this Spanish town and the many varying emotions of its residents. Readers will be surprised to learn that what happened then impacted events that occurred nearly 500 years later. If ever the story comes to the big screen, it would be worthy to be produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Larry Glazer

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 31, 2020

LG
I’ve been to Spain and learned some about the Inquisition. I’ve been to Holocaust museums and learned more. But this book was special. It help me understand the dynamics personal affects to the Jews and the Gentiles, in 1492 and years thereafter. It’s a wonderful entertaining and informative read. It will tap into happy and sad emotions. Author Marcia Riman Selz is to be congratulated