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.
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?
©2011 Talia Carner (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
An Orthodox Jewish girl growing up at the turn of the century before WWI, in the holy city of Jerusalem, was expected to be married off in her early teens . . . to a man chosen by her father, unbeknownst to her. Esther, feisty and different than her siblings, and the apple of her father's eye . . . takes over the running of the house after the death of her mother . . . and she does all that she can to delay and discourage her father from choosing a husband for her. At school, she learns French and is introduced to art by her teacher, who becomes a life long friend. Esther finds that she is a talented artist, and yearns to paint . . . but as a Jew, it is forbidden. More and more as Esther grows and matures, she struggles against the desires of her heart . . . and the rituals of the Jewish faith, which seem to restrict her. Finally her father succeeds in marrying her off and Esther becomes a wife and mother. I found the book to be very interesting, sometimes so sad . . . and my heart ached for the confines of those in the Jewish faith . . . as I am Christian, and I am so very thankful for the freedom from "the law". Yet, the Jewish people, are God's Chosen people . . . and He has a plan for them. I was both happy and sad listening to Esther's time in Paris . . . wishing discernment for her . . . but in many ways, it was like a kid in a candy shop . . . wisdom did finally come . . . but with a horrible cost . . . and perhaps a loss of faith, or maybe a letting go of something that never was faith at all . . . I was pleased with the ending . . . and the choices that Esther made as a mature woman. The book is well worth the listen.
The story would best have ended 3 chapters earlier. Instead the author came close to becoming an 'agony aunt'. Additional generations should be saved for subsequent books. Poor editing.
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