The Phoenix Bride

Dell. Mar. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780593597873. pap. $18. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Set in 17th-century London, this sumptuous romance tells the story of two star-crossed lovers drawn together under tumultuous circumstances. Cecilia, a young noble widow, has recently lost her beloved husband to the bubonic plague. David, a Jewish doctor recently emigrated from Portugal in the hope of living his life free from religious persecution for the first time, is carrying the weight of his own past tragedies. When David is called upon to treat Cecilia’s melancholy, they become close despite the chasm that their class and religious differences present. But their shared experiences of loss provide a connection, and their fledgling but passionate love binds them together irrevocably. Although David is able to live openly as a Jewish person in 1666 London, it’s not a safe place for foreigners or non-Christians, and he and Cecilia know that a shared future is impossible. Then the Great Fire of London breaks out, altering their paths and forging new ones from the ashes.
VERDICT Narrated in alternating points of view and featuring diversity along multiple axes, including religion and LGBTQIA+ identity, this lyrically written and utterly romantic novel from Siegel (Solomon’s Crown) will appeal to readers of historical fiction and epic love stories.
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