From Publishers Weekly
Two Orthodox Jewish matchmakers strive busily to marry off their neighbors in this bustling debut novel set in modern-day Jerusalem. Tsippi, who works the counter of her husband's grocery store, is always on the lookout for promising single shoppers, even as her own marriage begins to show signs of wear. Judy, a glamorous mother of six, fits in her matchmaking around her studies at a yeshiva for women, where she is taking Torah classes, looking for deeper meaning in life. Both take a stab at setting up 39-year-old Beth, a staunchly independent Orthodox woman from the U.S. who has gone on more first dates than she can count. Now her possibilities are beginning to dwindle, and to make matters worse, she is troubled by a crisis of faith. When Tsippi sends her on a date with Akiva, a house painter and student of the Torah, Beth is hopeful, but Akiva is afflicted by a disconcerting twitch. A date with arrogant Binyamin, one of Judy's clients, is even more discouraging. Binyamin is a handsome American artist, a newcomer to observant Judaism, but none of the women he dates are good enough for him: as he puts it, "A beauty, dammit, that's what he wanted. Attractive wouldn't do." King tracks the dating fates of Beth, Akiva and Binyamin, but pays equal attention to their spiritual searching. Her attention to minor variations in levels of orthodoxy makes the book a sociological study of sorts ("he went to a very religious black-hat hareidi yeshiva, yet from the look of him he seemed two steps removed from that world"), but her richly detailed descriptions of Jerusalem (the reader can almost smell the falafel frying) and her sympathetic characters make this a fully realized novel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"While the machinations of matchmakers have long been a staple of fiction, King's debut novel puts a fresh spin on the subject....King's portrayal of a religious community is as warm and engaging as any in contemporary literature. Her characters jump off the page and into the hearts of her audience...charming, spiritual tale."
- Library Journal
"A gentle evocation of love and faith in Jerusalem's Orthodox community....King then seems, like a Jewish Jane Austen....Much of the story's strength rises from King's generous description of Jerusalem....A tender enlightening debut that, urban setting aside, reads like a comedy of provincial manners."
"Two Orthodox Jewish matchmakers strive busily to marry off their neighbors in this bustling debut novel set in modern-day Jerusalem...her richly detailed descriptions of Jerusalem (the reader can almost smell the falafel frying) and her sympathetic characters make this a fully realized novel."
- Publishers Weekly
"It shimmers...Its setting is suffused with the glint of Jerusalem light, its characters infused with the city's spirituality....In short, a gem of a novel." --Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
"Ruchama King successfully marries the romantic and the religious, the ancient and the modern, in a captivating tale about modern day match-making among the newly pious Americans who have made Israel their home. What I loved most about this spell-binding first novel, was the reader's total immersion in a world of ritual and longing."
-Helen Schulman, author of P.S. and The Revisionist
"With warmth, wisdom, and an abundance of affection, Ruchama King opens up a fascinating world. Mining the everyday moments of her characters' lives, she expertly explores love and marriage, belief and hope." -Tova Mirvis, author of The Ladies Auxiliary
"Arranged marriages will never look the same. Ruchama King transforms the life of Orthodox Jerusalem into the universal terms of love and courtship--and yes, real intimacy and self-fulfillment. A perceptive and charming book." -Risa Miller, author of Welcome to Heavenly Heights
"Ruchama King is herself a great matchmaker--between the sensual and the ethereal, between subtle storytelling and startling revelation. Her novel moves with a grace I have not encountered. What a loss it would have been to have never read it, or for her to have never written it." - Stephen J. Dubner, author of Turbulent Souls and Confessions of a Hero Worshipper