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The Bookseller's Sonnets [Paperback]

Andi Rosenthal
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 16, 2010
A mysterious package from an anonymous artifact donor arrives on the desk of Jill Levin, the senior curator at a Holocaust museum: a secret diary, written by the eldest daughter of St. Thomas More, legal advisor to and close friend of Henry VIII. As Jill and her colleagues work to authenticate this rare find, letters arrive to convey the manuscript?s history and the donor?s unimaginable story of survival. At the same time, representatives from the Archdiocese of New York arrive to stake their claim to this controversial document, hoping to send it to a Vatican archive before its explosive content becomes public. As the process of authentication hovers between find and fraud, and as the battle for provenance plays out between religious institutions, Jill struggles with her own family history, and her involvement in a relationship she fears will disrupt and disappoint her family.

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Editorial Reviews


Is this another historical romance novel about the role of women and Jews in an earlier historical period? No, The Bookseller's Sonnets is not another Rashi's Daughters or The Fruit of Her Hands, though if you enjoyed those books you'll probably like this one even more. What makes this book different is the way it looks at Jewish life in the present day, refreshingly honest in its portrayal of people in interfaith relationships and interfaith families in today's Jewish community. The writing captures the nuances of a Jewish experience from a perspective most Jews usually don't hear. --, November 16, 2010

The Bookseller's Sonnets grabbed me from the first few pages... Tying together the Tudor era, the Holocaust and today in one story takes a gifted writer. Simply said - one of my favorite books this year. -- The Printed Page

Author Andi Rosenthal deftly weaves together past and present in this wonderful debut novel...Rosenthal's writing is crisp and fluid, and I couldn't wait to get home from work every night and crawl back into this world she created. It is a true page turner. -- Capone's Hit List

Andi Rosenthal's `Booksellers Sonnets' is gripping historical mystery with a twist. We would happily recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Geraldine Brooks's People of the Book or Peter Manseau's Songs for the Butcher's Daughter--to anyone, in fact, who enjoys a good story told well. -- Joseph's Bookstore, London

About the Author

Short Description: Andi Rosenthal received an M.A. in Creative Writing from Temple University. She is a contributing writer to Reform Judaism magazine, and She lives in Larchmont, New York.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Roundfire Books; Reprint edition (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846943426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846943423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant First Novel May 16, 2011
This book is riveting from page one. Andi writes like a poet. Not only that, her characters are well developed and make me care about what happens to them. From the beginning she draws us into a mystery that keeps us guessing right until she reveals it near the end of the book. I would never have figured it out and was surprised and delighted by the revelation!

I learned a great deal about the Jewish Museum in New York and was fascinated to learn the process one goes through when deciphering ancient texts. Andi Rosenthal humanized Thomas More and his family for me. I have studied ancient England, Henry VIII and his court in college text books, but The Bookseller's Sonnets filled in the gaps for me and humanized the characters. I look forward with great anticipation to her next novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Work to Raise Your Spirits January 31, 2011
By David L
The Bookseller's Sonnets Andi Rosenthal is a master storyteller, but as this debut novel also establishes, she is an exceptional poet. The Bookseller's Sonnets is creative and riveting, and the author's ability to write in several very different voices, with credibility in each, displays exceptional talent. The themes are important for multiple generations, and the span of history imparts a dimension of richness that stays with the reader long after the back cover has been turned over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, writing style, and writing techniques! July 19, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was really blown away by this book because it managed to pull me in, make me care about the characters, and it taught me a lot about history and the human condition. Andi managed to create three separate stories about three totally different women (even their differing writing styles were captured),and three totally different moments in history. At times the book was emotionally draining as it covered intense stories from the Inquisition, to the Holocaust, to September 11th, but it gives the reader a rewarding degree of depth to process and experience while reading. Although I knew it was fiction, I was really very impressed that I never questioned the authenticity of the characters or their stories because they were so compelling and realistic. If you are looking for a great story, a well written mystery, and some historical reference to learn a little from, this is a great book. Actually, this is a great book, period. I hope you enjoy it as much as i did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! May 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautrifully written and very intriguing! One of my favorite reads of the year! I would highly recommend this book! GREAT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Times April 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The weaving of historical fact and the parallel stories of the characters over centuries of time was brilliantly done. It is more than just their individual stories. It is symbolic of the destructiveness of narrow religious intolerance for the lives of people. The psychological impact of family secrets is also well delineated. Deserving of a wide audience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rousing Good Tale of a Difficult Subject January 29, 2011
This debut novel is a galloping read, recounting all at once the intricately woven stories of three Jewish women and the Catholic-born daughter of St. Thomas More, childhood pal of Henry VIII. Jill Levin, curator at a fictitious Holocaust museum in Manhattan, receives a mysterious donation in the form of an ancient diary, which leads her back in time to the court of Henry VIII in England as well as to Nazi Germany. The anonymous donor recounts her experiences of surviving a concentration camp in her own letters, while her donation, the fictitious diary of Margaret More, daughter of St. Thomas More, recounts the heyday of Henry VIII. While Jill struggles to authenticate and protect the delicate manuscript, the story unfolds of her own struggle to come to terms with her family's disapproval of her gentile boyfriend. In a tantalizing subplot, Jill's orthodox colleague, Aviva, slowly comes to realize that she is trapped in her ninth month of pregnancy in a loveless marriage.

Rosenthal skillfully weaves the stories of these women into a seamless whole. Each woman's story is compelling enough to warrant their own book, but they all tell the same story from different angles, which makes for a fascinating read. The conclusion, though a bit predictable, is nevertheless satisfying. The book unerringly grapples with the clash of religion (and Judaism in particular) and the whim of romantic love. Orthodox readers may take offense at the ease with which Aviva's husband abandons her for a gentile lover and also the decision of the protagonist, Jill, to marry her gentile boyfriend against her religious tradition and against the wishes of her family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, compelling read October 5, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Bookseller's Sonnets is the story of three women, all from different times, all facing challenges to their love, to their faith, and to their families. The author ties their stories together so deftly, showing the universality of the strength of love and lovingly shows us the true ties that bind us to the ones we love. The main character, Jill Levin, is a woman of intelligence, thoughtfulness and humility, allowing us on her personal journey through her struggles with faith and family. The voice of Margaret More is written believably, the sonnets with great poetic skill. The written voice of the anonymous donor, a Holocaust survivor, captures the horror, suffering, and survivor's guilt. Most interestingly, it explores the long-lasting effects of such an event on the survivor's world view, and even how it has greatly affected generations since. Even the supporting characters are written with love and sympathy, each with their own perspective, allowing Jill, and us, to come to an understanding on matters of faith and love with an open mind and with careful thought. This is one of those books that will stay with me for quite a while.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book from beginning to end!
Published 1 month ago by Fran Roth
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
I found the story gripping and a realistic portrait of the holocaust. This book contains two very powerful stories. I highly recommend it.
Published 3 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant weaving of the past and present, of interfaith and...
A touching story both past and present, of King Henry' VIII's court, of the Holocaust, and of faith-based issues of the modern day.
Published 4 months ago by dukeno1
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a romance novel.
I am not a lover of romance novels. Even though this novel has a storyline of not only one plot but two stories of serious love interests. Read more
Published 6 months ago by CAROL
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Thumbs Up
This was a genuine page-turner and an admirable first novel for so many reasons. First is the sheer ambition of the author, creating a work that is part mystery, part historical... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Joyce Luck
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!
Excellent book! Extensive research of historical facts woven into a fictional account. Can't wait to read it a second time.
Published 6 months ago by Judy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiction, but almost wish it was true.
Great read. Intriguing page turner. Likable characters and I love when I learn at least one thing I didn't know before.
Published 7 months ago by Carissa K. Steefel
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
the book got better towards the end
Published 9 months ago by sharon gilman
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a page turner. It kept me interested ...
It was a page turner. It kept me interested the whole time. You get totally involved in the characters lives and what they are experiencing.
Published 10 months ago by Wilma Rosenkranz
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
The book brought out the pain and agony of the Jewish people. It also really showed how your family tree may surprise you. I found the story very interesting and informative. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Patricia Pickett
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