From author’s website: Inspired by my ten-generation family roots in Jerusalem, I wrote a “what-if” alternate life for my grandmother and her untapped artistic genius. Please read “The Story Behind The Story.”
Synopsis: Esther Kaminsky knows that her duty is to marry young and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival: that is what is expected of young ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. But when her French teacher catches Esther’s extraordinary doodling and gives her colored pencils and art lessons, Esther wonders if God has a special destiny for her: maybe she is meant to be an artist, not a mother; maybe she is meant to travel to Paris, not stay in Jerusalem.
In the coming years, as Esther sacrifices her yearning for painting and devotes herself instead to following God’s path as an obedient “Jerusalem maiden,” she suppresses her desires—until a surprising opportunity forces itself into her pre-ordained path. When her beliefs clash with the surging passions she has staved off her entire life, Esther must confront the hard questions: What is faith? Is there such a thing as destiny? And to whom must she be true, to God or to herself?
Type: Historical Fiction
Quick Take: In one word, I would describe this book as riveting. I learned so much about a culture and time I knew nothing about… something I love to do while reading.
Esther isn’t comfortable with the cultural expectations put on her as a young girl approaching adulthood, creating an internal struggle that is explored throughout the novel.
She makes life challenging for her parents as she pushes the boundaries of that is expected of a young girl living in the time and faith she was born into. Esther feels responsible for something that happens at her family home while she’s off enjoying her secret hobby, forcing her life to head in a different direction… one she may not have chosen for herself.
If you enjoyed The Red Tent, or The Diva and the Doctor you will love this book. I couldn’t put it down, and the ending left me wanting more.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Read more at my website at www.bookwormwithaview.com