Anton , Maggie. Rashi’s Daughters: Book One-Joheved. New York: Plume, 2007 (reprint). ISBN: 9780452288621. $15.00.
In the first of three novels, each focusing on one of Rashi’s daughters, Maggie Anton brings to life the Jewish world of Rashi’s times and the unusual education he provided for his daughters. There are several references to the Talmud as well as the winemaking business in this medieval tale that highlights the customs and history of 11th-century France.
Cohen, Paula Marantz. Jane Austen in Scarsdale. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780312325020. $23.95.
Anne Ehrlich, a high school guidance counselor, is busy helping students cope with applications for college. A new student’s wealthy uncle is the man her family convinced her to give up years before because he was penniless at the time. The tables have turned and Anne’s life changes during the course of the school year. A take-off on Austen’s Persuasion, Cohen has a sharp handle on the pressures well-meaning families can exert on youth.
Delman, Carmit. Burnt Bread and Chutney: Growing Up between Cultures - A Memoir of an Indian Jewish Girl. New York: Ballantine, 200e. ISBN: 9780345445940. $13.95.
Carmit Delman’s mother is from the Bene Israel community and her father is an American of Ashkenazi descent. In this lyrical, but sometimes overly personal memoir, Delman relates her feelings and insecurities as a young woman who felt she was an outsider in the Jewish community while growing up in America.
Goodman, Allegra. Intuition. New York. Dial Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780385336123. $25.00.
The world of scientific research is deftly probed as Goodman describes the highs and lows of the Philpott Institute for cancer research. The need to produce results and the reality of professional rivalry are portrayed in a setting that examines the characters of younger and older scentists as well as issues in today’s headlines.
Halter, Marek. Sarah: A Novel (Book One of the Canaan Trilogy). New York: Crown, 2004. ISBN: 9781400052721. $24.00.
An example of biblical fiction, Halter’s novel holds the reader’s interest in his extrapolation of Sarah’s life as she narrates details from her childhood and her relationships with Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, and other biblical figures.
Horn, Dara. The World To Come: A Novel. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. ISBN:9780393329063. $13.95.
Starting with an unusual art theft, the author brings together contemporary issues with references to the shtetl, past Yiddish writers, and Jewish life in early 20th century America. A combination of reality and fantasy, this is an educational and imaginative story.
Krauss, Nicole. The History of Love: A Novel. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006 (New Ed). ISBN: 9780393328622. $13.95.
A fourteen year old and an octogenarian eventually meet when they discover a connection to a book written long ago. Funny in spots, and sad in others, the story incorporates loneliness, grieving, and the power of love.
Lelyveld, Joseph. Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop. New York: Picador, 2006. ISBN: 97803412425104. $13.95.
Son of a famous social activist rabbi and a mother who was a Shakespearean scholar, Lelyveld provides cameos into his unusual childhood. After his retirement as executive editor of The New York Times he had the time to investigate and bring into focus his relationship with with his divorced parents. Includes a description of a maverick friend of the family who had an impact on Lelyveld’s life for a brief period of time.
Silva, Daniel. The Messenger. New York: Putnam, 2006. ISBN: 9780399153308. $25.95.
In the sixth of a mystery series, Gabriel Allon, Israeli master spy and art restorer, is asked to help prevent an attack on the pope's life. Once again, Daniel Silva is able to give insights into current events in the world of terrorism along with cultural references to the art world. In this novel, Silva addresses the role of the Saudis in the intrigue laden Middle East.
Walton, Jo. Farthing. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2006.ISBN: 9780765314215. $25.95.
This powerful alternate history novel is set in Post World War II England where several upper-crust families meet for a retreat. Lucy, the daughter of one of the families, and her husband, David, a London Jew, are surprised to be invited, only to find that David is the target of suspicion in the gruesome murder of one of the “Fascist Farthing set” guests.
Yehoshua, A. B. A Woman In Jerusalem. New York: Harvest Book Reprint, 2007. ISBN: 9780156031943. $14.00.
A woman dies during a suicide bomb explosion and her body lies unclaimed at the morgue. The facts about her life are revealed only after the human resource manager for the commercial bakery where she had been employed is assigned to find out more about who she was and to arrange for her funeral. Only the woman has a name in this haunting and well-written novel that examines the value of human life.
Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Knopf Books For Young Readers, 2006. ISBN: 978037831003. $16.95.
Death is the narrator in this intriguing story of a young girl in Germany during Wrold War II. Reading and the power of words play pivotal roles in her life and in her survival. Targeted for young adult readers, Zusak’s unique writing is to be savored by adults as well.