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The Witch of Cologne
The Witch of Cologne
Author: Tobsha Learner
In a sensuous 17th-century saga set in German Catholic Cologne, Learner (Quiver) transports readers to a time when studying the ancient Kabbalah could prove deadly for a young Jewish midwife. Ruth bas Elazar Saul is the headstrong daughter of the chief rabbi of Deutz, Cologne's Jewish ghetto. She undertakes the forbidden course of mystical study...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780765314307
ISBN-10: 0765314304
Publication Date: 8/1/2005
Pages: 480
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 65 ratings
Publisher: Forge Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

starfkr avatar reviewed The Witch of Cologne on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
As far as historical fiction goes, I've read better and I've read worse. I liked some elements of the book, particularly the witchcraft and Inquisition angle. However, this book had a romance novel feel about it that I just wasn't that fond of. Maybe it was the way it was written or maybe I'm just not a fan of romance novels; I'm not really sure. Tobsha Learner is kind of like Philippa Gregory Lite. Similar style but not as compelling. I'd give this one 3/5.
amichai avatar reviewed The Witch of Cologne on + 368 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A disappointment. The historically-based events kept me turning pages, but the prose has no charm, the characters' development is not nuanced and their motivations sometimes completely nonsensical. The author's depiction of Jewish life at the time is extremely weak, a huge drawback, since the main character is a Jewish woman who finds "the love of her life" in a Catholic canon. The main characters are anachronisms; modern people plunked into the 17th Century setting. Although the time periods are different, if you compare this book to Philippa Gregory's "The Queen's Fool" which follows a Jewish woman at the Elizabethan court (also something of a "bodice ripper" with an unusually modern Jewish woman heroine) you can see the difference it makes to follow a well-developed character. Jewish life described in the Witch of Cologne is so stereotyped and incomplete it really amazed me. Elements of this book I would have thought would make it good: kabbala, the demon Lilith, midwifery, era in history, iconoclastic main characters, sex - but, despite these...cannot recommend.
reviewed The Witch of Cologne on
Helpful Score: 4
A simple tale, simply told. A step up from a beach read - think a well-researched historical romance.
reviewed The Witch of Cologne on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Ignore the silly cover on this book. What was the publisher thinking? This is a well-written, tragicthough ultimately hopeful story of star-crossed lovers during a particularly brutal period in history. The kind of story that haunts you. It is romantic--but not light, with great historical detail. Wonderful.
reviewed The Witch of Cologne on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Very intetesting story. Drags in certain areas, but worth the read
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reviewed The Witch of Cologne on + 3 more book reviews
This is a fictionalized account of the Spanish Inquisition. However, it is much more than that. Some of the characters that play a major role in the book are true historical figures, but the main character is a creation of the author. The story of a Jewish midwife practicing in the 1600's is both entertaining and informative. The author educated the reader about practices of midwifery and also politics of the 17th century. The story spans the life of Ruth, the main character and takes us through the many experiences of a woman who is unconventional for her time. A well-written book from an up and coming author.
reviewed The Witch of Cologne on + 3 more book reviews
This is an excellent work of historical fiction with true history added. The descriptions and portrayal of life in the 1600s along with alluring characters and eroticism is exquisite.
It is definitely a page turner for me and I recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.

Catherine in New Jersey
reviewed The Witch of Cologne on
I found this book to be somewhat disappointing in the end. It was a tragic romance novel. The final years we dealt with so superficially, and for Jacob to make the monumentous decision without knowing him, well was disappointing.


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