Clare Martin is really Beverly S. Martin, author of the steamily sexy Juffie Kane (1989)--which makes it all the more surprising that she has written this commonplace and rather musty historical about a 19th-century Spanish family. It all begins in France, in 1798. Excited by the heady air of freedom surrounding the French Revolution, the Sephardic Jew Benjamin Valon brings his little granddaughter, Sofie, back to their ancestral homeland (the family had been driven out centuries earlier during the Inquistion). Crossing the Pyrenees, however, they are attacked by bandits; Benjamin is killed, but Sophie is rescued by a band of gypsies. She blocks out any memories of her old life and grows up to become the lovely gypsy girl Sofia. Although she yearns for the boy who rescued her, young Carlos, she's later married off to the brutish Paco, who beats her and one day, in a fit of rage, kills their infant daughter. Sofia runs away and begins a new life singing in cafes, becomes the mistress of well-to-do men, and even meets Carlos again, who is now a famous bullfighter. They have an affair, but Sofia's real love now is Robert Mendoza, the Spanish/English merchant of a famous dynastic family who is seeking to open the first-ever Bank of Spain. Robert discovers his Jewish heritage--and Sofia's--and even a buried treasure left behind by Jewish ancestors; but as the novel closes (the first in a projected trilogy), he and Sofia must be married in a Catholic Church if Robert's dream of conquering the Spanish banking world is to come true. Good on bullfighting and gypsies, though Martin strays far and deep enough into the world of 19th-century Spanish banking to jeopardize a purely entertaining read.