Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Pages: 464 pages
Genre: Fiction/Coming of Age
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound
Summary from publisher:
In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, a young Orthodox Jewish woman in the holy city of Jerusalem is expected to marry and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah's arrival. While the feisty Esther Kaminsky understands her obligations, her artistic talent inspires her to secretly explore worlds outside her religion, to dream of studying in Paris—and to believe that God has a special destiny for her. When tragedy strikes her family, Esther views it as a warning from an angry God and suppresses her desires in order to become an obedient "Jerusalem maiden."
But when a surprising opportunity forces itself on to her preordained path, Esther finds her beliefs clashing dangerously with the passions she has staved off her entire life—forcing her to confront the most difficult and damning question of all: To whom must she be true, God or herself?
This is another book that I stayed up and read for hours when I should have been sleeping. It’s a problem. I have this ability to go without sleep when I see a good book.
I must begin by saying that I am not Jewish and have very little knowledge of Orthodox Jewish culture. I did, however, identify with Esther’s story. She found her dreams and talents clashing with her beliefs and what was expected of her by her family and her community. That’s definitely something that I can identify with. I think it’s something that most people can identify with in some way.
Jerusalem Maiden was an amazing coming of age story—I love them. I have read many and this is one of the better ones that I have picked up. The writing was vivid and engaging. There was some Yiddish scattered throughout the book but a quick Google search will help and it’s always easy to infer what the words mean. I’m not religious at all so I really can’t commiserate with that part of Esther’s story but I can with her desire to meet the expectations of her family as well as follow her dreams and live up to her talent.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.