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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?
An insightful look into the customs of the most conservative Jews in Jerusalem, from WWI onwards. The conflict between modern culture and tradition is very keenly portrayed, and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by EP
Set in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 20th century in the Ottoman Empire.
Though the novel raises some interest in its description of life in Jerusalem in the final years... Read more
Loved the premise and the writing style. The story is set in multiple fascinating locations and offers some interesting insights into world religions.Published 1 month ago by Carol Dell
Despite being Jewish and spending time in Israel this book gave me insight to a sect of the Jewish people I knew little about.Published 1 month ago by Jo Stone
One of the best books I've read in a long time! The character development was wonderful ......the story spectacular. Highly recommend this terrific book!Published 2 months ago by marcia weinberg
I was interested in the subject of an artist who struggled with Jewish ultra orthodoxy's prohibition of "graven images. Read morePublished 2 months ago by DH
This author paints vivid, complex pictures as she tells the story of a young Jewish woman growing up in poverty, under Turkish rule, in pre-state Israel and her struggle to remain... Read morePublished 3 months ago by DGB