UC Davis alumna and author Laurel Corona will be at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in Davis, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 7, to discuss her newest novel, “The Mapmaker’s Daughter.”
Valencia, 1492: In a room empty of furnishings except for the one chair in which she sits, Amalia, age 67, brushes her fingers over the images in a hand-painted atlas. Any minute, her grandson will arrive to take her from her room, from her house, from her country, forever. She can take only what she can carry in her arms, and the atlas will have to be left behind.
Amalia is the great-granddaughter of Abraham Cresques, one of a small community of Jewish mapmakers and astronomers whose services were so valuable in medieval Iberia that their “odious religion” had been tolerated by Muslim and Christian rulers alike.
But times have changed. In January 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella conquered Granada, the last holdout of Muslim rule in Spain. Flushed with a victory they felt was ordained by God, they issued an order expelling from Spain all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity.
There is only one day left to comply. As she waits, listening for the sound of her grandson’s footsteps on the stairs, Amalia slips into reverie, reliving the story of her life.
Corona’s previous books include “The Four Seasons,” “Penelope’s Daughter” and “Finding Emilie.”
Corona is a frequent speaker on Jewish life and literature, and is member of the Brandeis National Committee, the National Council of Jewish Women and Hadassah. She has taught at San Diego State University, UC San Diego and San Diego City College, where she is a professor of English and humanities. She lives in San Diego.