As HarperCollins is gearing up to release JERUSALEM MAIDEN, New York Times' best-selling authors such as Tess Gerristen, Jacqueline Mitchard and Jennifer Lauck have read the galleys and are showering the novel with praise.
“Exquisitely told, with details so vivid you can almost taste the food and hear the voices, Jerusalem Maiden is a coming-of-age story set in a time and place that few of us know. Talia Carner has written a moving and utterly captivating novel that I will be thinking about for a long, long time.”
-- Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girl
"As bold and fragile as its main character, JERUSALEM MAIDEN is at heart a story of revolution. Esther Kaminsky risks everything to ask questions about womanhood and faith that even in the asking constitute sin for an obedient girl. In Esther’s time, risking ‘everything’ was literal. Debut author Talia Carner’s story captivates at every level, heart and mind.”
-- Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature
“Esther Kaminsky is a true heroine -- talented, passionate, opinionated -- and I wanted her to succeed on every page of this novel. But for me the truly marvellous thing about Jerusalem Maiden is how deeply Talia Carner is able to evoke Esther’s faith and the complexity of the choices she faces. A beautiful and timely novel.”
-- Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street and Eva Moves the Furniture
“Talia Carner’s Jerusalem Maiden is an exquisitely explosive journey back to the final days of the Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem. She creates a portrait of a brilliant young artist trapped in the body and soul of an Orthodox Jewish girl. Carner’s descriptions of life in Palestine and Paris convey the bleakness of thwarted ambition, the narrow mindset of fundamentalism, and the struggle between self-fulfillment and community expectation. It immerses us in a provocative and astonishingly realized world filled with evil spirits, arranged marriages, prayer, poverty, and the pain of breaking free.”
-- Michelle Cameron, author of The Fruit of Her Hands
“Jerusalem Maiden is a page-turning and thought-provoking novel. Extraordinary sensory detail vividly conjures another time and place; heroine Esther Kaminsky’s poignant struggle transcends time and place. The ultimate revelation here: for many women, if not most, 2011 is no different than 1911, but triumph is nonetheless possible.”
-- Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of The Scenic Route
“Jerusalem Maiden is a novel but the reader feels that she has entered living, lost history. Once engaged, you cannot put this book down. Suddenly, you are in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Paris in the years spanning 1911-1924. The details are so real, in terms of crowded living conditions, the harshness of Jewish life under the Ottoman Empire, the rising tide of Zionist politics--but the book also tells us how people dressed, what they ate, and about Sabbath joys and Torah discussions . . . Will Talia Carner’s heroine, Esther, a preternaturally talented young artist born into an impoverished but ultra-religious Jewish family, dare to choose her own destiny: a life of art, passion, and personal happiness or will she instead fulfill her obligations both to God and to the family that forced her into an arranged marriage? Will Esther allow herself the right to love, something women today take for granted, but a hard-won right for religious women of previous generations? Will she honor her talent—she is on the threshold of fame in Paris-- or give it up, submit to the demands of family? . . . Carner renders these issues heartbreakingly real.”
-- Phyllis Chesler, author of Women and Madness and Women of the Wall
"Talia Carner is a skillful and heartfelt storyteller who takes the reader on journey of the senses, into a world long forgotten. Her story of a woman who struggles and seeks the light is universal and inspiring. Read this book and savor.”
-- Jennifer Lauck, author of the New York Times bestseller Blackbird and Found: A Memoir
“Jerusalem Maiden won me over from the first moment I began reading it . . .The novel literally forced me to identify with the protagonist, and relive the tribulations of the young woman, torn between her commitment to the religious precepts of the ultraorthodox community in which she is raised, and her passion for self-fulfilment through art . . . The exceptionally gifted author, Talia Carner, crafted a novel rich with poetic yet authentic descriptions. It is meticulously researched, and steeped in thorough knowledge, no less than deep understanding, of both this community and of the world of art in Paris, at the beginning of the twentieth century. . . The detailed, talented, descriptions make you feel as if you were actually there, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds and smelling the scents of these settings . . . Its plot, too, is utterly enthralling. As soon as I opened Jerusalem Maiden, the pages seemed to turn of their own accord and I could not put it down until I reached its dramatic, surprising, yet totally convincing end.”
—Eva Etzioni-Halevy, author of The Triumph of Deborah, The Song of Hannah and The Garden of Ruth
"Despite the sweet title, "Jerusalem Maiden" is not a nostalgic, romantic look at ultra-orthodox life in Israel. This compelling novel vividly examines the grinding poverty and oppressive religious domination the heroine suffers in pre-World War I Mea Shearim, and then compares it with the seductive nonconformity she enjoys in the Parisian art world ten years later. Though this is the particular story of the author's grandmother, the battle between authoritarian faith and artistic or other freedom could just as easily be the story of my grandmother or anyone's grandmother. And the powerful ending makes us realize the devastating truth that, throughout history, when faced with sacrificing her own desires to care for the children who need her, a woman makes the sacrifice no matter what the personal cost.
—Maggie Anton, author of Rashi’s Daughters "JERUSALEM MAIDEN is a fascinating story of how a talented, artistic woman from a conservative faith must balance the responsibilities of her heritage against her passions for love and art. Readers will be compelled by Esther’s search to find herself amid the expectations of the people most important to her, and her expectations for herself. This is a story that brings an elusive time and place to life and makes you question the strengths of your own beliefs."
-- Vanitha Sankaran, author of Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages
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