The Salt Covenants

The Salt Covenants

by Sylvia Bambola


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The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola

2015 Reader's Favorite Bronze Medal Winner, Christian Historical Fiction

"Bambola (Rebekah's Treasure) elevates a simple historical tale into something transcendent, in this beautifully written novel about a young Jewish noblewoman, Isabel, who flees the Inquisition on Christopher Columbus's second voyage to the New World." Publishers Weekly starred review

"But these plans they have laid out for me like an embroidered rug, showing me where my feet must travel, is to me an awful penance for sins I did not commit." Isabel

Spain 1493: Isabel has broken her mother's heart by becoming a sincere convert to Christianity. But when she is noticed by Friar Alonso at La Casa Santa, the Holy House, she is forced to flee the Inquisition by entering into a loveless marriage and sailing with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. But all too soon Isabel is forced to struggle alone in her new life and new faith. With all the risks and hardships how is she to survive? And will she ever find love in this strange land? And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?

"Bambola's gift for storytelling in this work of historical fiction is noting short of remarkable."Sallie Yusko, pastor, founder of Women of Worth and Destiny, conference speaker and writer

"In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words." Micki Sorbello,, artist and free lance writer

"Bambola masterfully weaves historical gleanings into this epic tale of romance and adventure set against the backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition. You won't want to put it down."
Cristaña Carlton, musician, composer, teacher and author

"An enthralling page-turner! Sylvia Bambola's historical novel is full of heart-felt emotion as she weaves a tale of one woman's courage, hope and love."
Gina White, Mixed media artist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989970778
Publisher: Heritage Publishing House
Publication date: 01/01/2015
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner's Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an "army brat" gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored seven novels, has two grown children, teaches women's Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

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The Salt Covenants 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
LoverOfStory More than 1 year ago
The Salt Covenants is a beautiful story. Sylvia Bambola is excellent in her depth of character development and masterful storytelling. The protagonist, Isabel , is a thoughtful heroine, passionate and vivacious. A Jewess by birth and a Christian by conversion, she constantly is faced with persecution and difficulty. Forced to venture into the terrifying new world of America, hers is not an easy life. Her story is painful at times, but is also full of beauty and devotion as she fights to survive in a world that threatens her faith and her life. Bambola’s storytelling brings clarity to this difficult time in history and the reader gets to see it all up close and personal. The characters’ struggles ring true and from beginning to end, I was hooked. Bambola is truly gifted and I look forward to reading her other books! I received this book from in exchange for an honest review. This review was posted to Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads, CBD, Deeper Shopping, and Library Thing (if available).
loriweller1 More than 1 year ago
The Salt Covenants is an amazing historical novel. The amount time needed to be put into research for this book had to be immense. It covers the time of the Spanish Inquisition. It is an interesting and informative story. The characters and story line keep your interest throughout. There is depth to this story line. I look forward to reading more by this author. I received the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while on my reading journey, an author is able to grab my attention with their superb writing skills and completely immerse me in that time and place. That was how The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola was for me. This was the first novel I have read by Ms. Bambola and her attention to historical detail was incredible. This was a story about a young Jewish woman who is a true converso to the Christian faith and her life and journey to the New World, sailing with none other than Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. After a devastating loss and the Spanish Inquisition looming, her family fears for her life and so as an obedient daughter she must leave her home country for a strange land with a husband she does not love, nor does he love her. Her trials and tribulations are softened with the friendship and comradery she finds in the only two other women on this voyage to a new settlement. This is a violent and gritty book especially dealing with the inhumane treatment of not just the Jewish people and the Inquisition, but also the Spainards treatment of the Taino Native Amercan tribe. Through all of this however, Isabel finds comfort in the love of the one true God and His Son. Not at all preachy, this story shows faith being lived out in an oftentimes cold, indifferent, and cruel world. This story is packed with truths, faithfulness, and true love for God, friends, family, and husband. I received a copy for an honest review from the author through The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
annelr More than 1 year ago
The Salt Covenants is an amazing historical novel, giving the reader insight into the time of Columbus, the New World and the barbarity of the Spanish Inquistion. Sylvia Bambola certainly has a gift for storytelling as she draws the readers into her characters and their experiences. Isabel a wealthy teenage Jewess and now converted believer in Christ tells her story from the backdrop of Seville in 1493 and the New World. It is a story filled with the beauty of nature and the opulence wealth can bring and one filled with the bloodshed and horrors that a world without pity can bring. The Salt Covenants is evocative, captivating and informative as Isabel struggles to survive loss, marriage, without love, to a gambling drunkard, kidnapping, and hurricanes. From a naive teenager totally dependent on her parents, Isabel matures into a strong woman who learns how to stand firm when the next trouble comes and know that the Merciful One is her refuge and strength. The author includes listing of 'Useful Information' to explain unfamiliar words and religious terms as well as an epilogue and questions for reading groups. A wonderful story of friendships, faith, fidelity and covenantal love. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network ( in exchange for my honest review. I have posted reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble,,, and GoodReads.
ksnapier475 More than 1 year ago
This book, The Salt Covenants, by Sylvia Bambola had me feeling so many different emotions. It begins in Spain in 1493. Isabel was a girl who wanted to express her feelings and ideas in a time and place where this was not favorable. One of the things that she wished she could share was her conversion to Christianity. However due to many circumstances, including the Inquisition, she was married to her late-sisters betrothed and then had to sail to the New World on Christopher Columbus's second voyage. The images and issues are beautiful and terrifying and Bambola was able to use words to express these to the reader so I felt like I was right there with Isabel. This is a remarkable book by a talented author. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read it. I was given this book by the author, and in exchange for my honest review.
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
Fascinating tale! It amazed me that not only did the early Caribbean settlers have to deal with the fierce attacks from the natives, but also from fighting within! Just as the English settlers in Jamestown, Roanoke and Plymouth had an extremely hard time adjusting to the new world, so did the Spanish settlers. All came for gold and riches – they found little gold and hard living. This book not only dealt with that, but also was so descriptive of the fear of the Spanish Inquisition and the difficulties of trying to flee from it. Isabel has reason to fear the Inquisition so she enters a loveless marriage and flees to the New World in Columbus’ fleet to Hispaniola – today’s Dominican Republic. After surviving an interminable voyage they arrive. But life there is harsh and brutal. Isabel will have to not only really leave her Jewish ways but also her Spanish ones – food doesn’t grow the same way in the new world and servants aren’t available to do the chores for her either. And the gold fever overtaking many of the men makes life even more challenging. But God has not abandoned Isabel. Through the trials she sees his hand and responds lovingly to those she encounters. She even becomes known as the Kind One among the native Tainos. I enjoyed this book, especially as I have not read much about the Spanish Inquisition or the early Spanish settlers. And I loved learning about a salt covenant. I received this book from in return for my honest opinion.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book that made me laugh and cry. I had not known much about the "converso". I am Catholic and it can be hard to read about how hard and cruel people were during the times of the inquisition. This is a story of a young girl named Isabel who ends up marrying a man she does not love and sailing on the second voyage that Columbus took to the new world. She is one of the only females that is there and that is hard. Here she has to survive and watch as the natives are treated horribly.. There are many secrets that are revealed and many good times and bad times that she must go through. I loved the characters and the story. I received a copy of this through for a fair and honest opinion. I hope to read many more by Sylvia Bambola.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola was an interesting read about the early Spanish settlements in the new world. While the story in totality was enticing, it did take a little while for me to get into it. Isabel struggles as a true convert to Christianity in Spain in 1493. After an incident with the Spanish Inquisition, Isabel is forced into a loveless marriage and must leave the country on Columbus’ second voyage. In the New World, Isabel is not without trouble; there were some sketchy characters always lurking about. I did enjoy the descriptive nature Ms. Bambola used. I could picture several of the scenes thoroughly because of the sensory detail she used. If you like New World history or historical novels about Spain, then this is the book for you. I received The Salt Covenants from The Book Club Network and the author in exchange for my honest opinion which I’ve provided here.
LanguageTCH More than 1 year ago
The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola is the first novel that I have read by this author. I am now a fan. Her writing style is very captivating, immersing the reader in the time period of 1490’s in Spain and the Indies. History is skillfully woven into the life story of a young Jewish woman who becomes a convert to Christianity. Isabel is an educated, independent and strong young woman whose life takes a tragic turn due to the Inquisition. She will not compromise her beliefs nor relinquish her loyalty to the Nazarene Savior. Her sister’s untimely death is a direct result of her detainment at the Holy House of the Inquisition. When Isabel receives a summons to the Holy House, her parents are desperate to save her from the same fate as her sister. They arrange for her to marry her sister’s former fiancé and for the two of them to sail on a voyage with Christopher Columbus. Isabel has no choice except to enter a loveless marriage and to sail to a primitive settlement. She must escape Fray Alonso. She has one comfort—their gardener’s peasant family is accompanying them. The gardener’s wife, Maria, is the closest female friend that she will have in this new life. The author immerses the reader in this tale, allowing us to experience the life and challenges in Española through Isabel’s eyes. Her struggles and fears, her resiliency and daring captivate the reader. Isabel is an admirable heroine in a world dominated and governed by men. All characters are well developed and complex. The author depicts the historical characters in light of the many resources that she consulted. The reader feels as though he is viewing a slice of history through a realistic lens. The additional information—the glossary, the bells, and the Jewish months and feasts—is a very helpful bonus. My words do not do justice to this well-crafted story. I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent novel and highly recommend it. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
grammy57 More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy historic novels this is a must read. It is set in Spain and the Dominican Republic during the Spanish Inquisition. It tells the story of a Jewish family and things that the Inquisition force them to do. It also shows how faith in God was a must for the main character, Isabel. The story is written with a lot of speech from that time and a lot of unknown, to me, words, but there is a word list in the back of the book. This word list is very helpful and makes this book a great learning experience also. The characters are well developed and the story flows smoothly. It kept my interest and I finished this book faster than most books because I did not want to quit reading. I fell asleep reading this book more than once, not because I was bored but because of the late hour I had stayed up reading. I highly recommend this book. You won't be disappointed. This book was given me in exchange for my honest review.
Karen02KD More than 1 year ago
Anyone who is a history buff, especially about the Middle Ages, this is the book for you. Through excellent research, Sylvia Bambola has written an intriguing story about the Spanish conquest of the New World. The story starts in Spain in 1493. The Inquisition is taking hold and those who are not Catholic, especially Jews, are being expelled from the country, forced to convert, or are brought up before the Inquisitors for torture, imprisonment, or death. Isabel comes from a wealthy Jewish merchant family. She has come to love the Savior, much to her mother’s distress. Through a series of events, Isabel finds herself in grave danger. Her family believes her only recourse is to bind her in a loveless marriage and send her to the New World on Columbus’ Second Voyage. Being one of three women on the voyage, life is difficult. Life becomes more difficult when the ship arrives hoping to find a thriving start to their colony only to find all the sailors who were left behind from the first voyage are dead. The colonists must start anew. When the crops from Europe do not grow in this island climate, Isabel goes to the native people for help. She develops a relationship with them, only to see them harmed by the Spaniards. Can Isabel ever overcome all the obstacles in her path including the dangerous man who has accompanied them? As a history teacher, I was very engrossed in this book. Often works of historical fiction are more fiction than historical, which I find very frustrating. There was so much accurate information about the Inquisition, the voyages to America, life in the New World, and of special interest, many of the customs of the time. I appreciated the author’s notes at the back of the book as well as her list of sources. I have read several of Sylvia Bambola’s books which is why I was interested in reading this one. It did not disappoint. I received this from the Book Club Network in exchange for my opinion.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
I love when I am pleasantly surprised by a book, when I begin a new book not exactly sure if I will like it and find myself drawn into the story. That's what happened with The Salt Covenants. This was such an interesting time in history and in a setting we often don't think about when it comes to persecuting Jews. When I think about Jews being treated poorly I usually think about Germany and World War II, not Spain. Sylvia definitely did her homework in writing this book. The characters are rich and well-developed. My heart broke so many times while reading this book as families were torn a part. What I kept thinking about as I read was that Christians where the ones doing all this horrible stuff. People who are supposed to be modeling Christ to the world are killing and raping people who don't believe like them. I felt Isable's struggle as she claimed this new faith yet saw what so many Christians where doing to her people. I wondered how she could continue to hold strong. It would be so easy to walk away and not believe. But she remained strong. I really enjoyed this book and think if you like historical fiction set in unique places this is a book you will enjoy as well. A copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola is a historical fiction that takes place in Spain, starting in the year 1493. We meet Isabel who has broken her mother's heart by converting from Judaism to Christianity. Despite this, however, when she is noticed by Friar Alonso at La Casa Santa, the Holy House, she must flee or be submitted to the Inquisition. She marries a man she does not love and catches a boat to the New World as Christopher Columbus heads on his second voyage. Things take a turn and Isabel finds that she must make her way in this dangerous New World alone; will she be able to do it? The first thing you should know about this book is that it is not a light and fluffy historical fiction; it is deep and heavy and has many layers to it. That said, it is a great read and it is that 'meat' which makes it so good. The first two chapters seem a little bit slow, but they set up a lot of details that you need for the book. Once you get past those first two chapters, however, the story seems to fly by and you will not want to put it down. I found Isabel an amazing woman for making her own choices in life in a period where a woman generally had little choice in what she did. She answered first to her family and then was married off. But this woman makes her own choices and, while she must face many hardships, she keeps moving on in the face of them. I wish I could be more like Isabel! You can tell that author Sylvia Bambola has put a lot of work into this book. Isabel shines through as a very realistic character and the backdrops of the story stand out vividly. Any historical fan is going to enjoy this book and I highly recommend it.