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JERUSALEM MAIDEN--"Can't put down," then "don't want it to end."
Date of Review: 
Aug.01.2011
Published Work: 
Reviewer: 
Bloggers, print media, book reviewers
Source: 
HarperCollins

 

PRAISE FROM PUBLISHED AUTHORS:

 

 

&

“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-fulfillment 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

RAVE REVIEWS FROM INDEPENDENT BOOK REVIEWERS:

 

&  Publishers' Weekly (May 2011 review)

 

     "Carner's engaging new novel opens in 1911 in an impoverished Jerusalem.... Carner renders Esther's world with great authority and detail, revealing intimate familial rituals within the larger political and socioeconomic context.... an earnest story of an introspective girl struggling to interpret God's will ....The setting, concerns... will make this particularly appealing to Jewish readers"

 

 

& Publishers' Weekly (early review, during the  2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award):

 

     "The author draws upon meticulous research to paint a picture of a cloistered community that is both immersive and accessible to outsiders. With an exceptional handle on both place and time, the author lets readers into a foreign world through the eyes of a marvelously human heroine..."

 

 

& Kirkus Reviews

 

     "A welcome glimpse into a little-understood world.

Will Esther manage to free herself of the prohibitions which she has internalized and achieve artistic expression and true love? Readers will fervently hope so." 

 

&  Star Tribune (Minneappolis/ St/ Paul)

 

By Patricia Hagen

"...exotic stage and expressive of broad emotions.... a fascinating look at a little-known culture and time. Esther's struggles with faith and reason are compelling and sympathetically portrayed....

I happily devour the book in one sitting.

The bottom line: Tuck "Jerusalem Maiden" in your beach bag."
 

 

&  Jewish Woman Magazine

 

"Carner, formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine, has a sharp eye for historical detail, as she portrays Esther’s struggles with questions of faith, destiny, ritual, spiritual life and freedom."

 

 

& Huffington Post

 

By Carol Hoenig

"...this novel is one of the few books that I can rave about and recommend without hesitation.

My heart ached for Esther as I watched her go through life suppressing her dream in order to do what she was told... Brava to Talia Carner for writing such a provocative novel, one that is bound to stir much discussion."

 

 

&  The Jewish Journal of South Florida

 

by Morton I. Teicher

 

Strident clash between tradition and modernity

 

"This remarkable story begins in Jerusalem in 1911 where 12-year old Esther Kaminsky, the precocious Jerusalem Maiden, lives with her Orthodox family in Me’ah She’arim....

 
...Esther is forced to confront the essential conflict that has dogged her life for so long. The strident clash between tradition and modernity permeates the scene and the challenging choices that Esther has to make.
...This profoundly moving story grabs the reader’s attention from the very beginning and never lets go."

 

& Dish Magazine

 

By Rachel Galdstone Nemuth

"...a heartbreakingly beautiful novel...

The rich prose Carner delivers on every page will transport you to a time and place so filled with mystique and magic that it will overwhelm your senses. Well-researched and beautifully written, this novel is like a painting; colorful and enticing, drawing you in from word one and never deigning to let you go."

 

&    Heeb

 

by Shmarya Rosenberg
“Few books capture Jerusalem life in the early years of the 1900s like “Jerusalem Maiden” …Carner weaves her story masterfully in part because Esther Kaminsky … fulfilled what her grandmother’s could have become.
Jerusalem Maiden tells the story of a Jew trapped in a community that smothers her but that she also loves dearly. Where Esther finally ends up…is a story told with beauty and grace, and with respect for both the traditional life of Jerusalem’s Old Yishuv and for those who with tears in their eyes sought to leave it.”
 

&  Bookhampton

 

"...this Summer's break-out Bestseller is JERUSALEM MAIDEN....

It isn't every day that a book about a Jewish young woman's spiritual conflict, becomes a major Hampton-read. This novel, which has blended both fiction and historical fact, has introduced an entirely new community to the history of Jews in the Ottoman Empire, and most importantly to the roles and cultural challenges which faced our 'grandmothers.'"

 

 

&  Intermountain Jewish News

 

By Temima Shulman

 

Art and Torah

"The urge to paint is G-d’s hand leading her, yet she believes her art is His creation, thus giving her permission to draw. ... [The conflict] is a struggle and a worthwhile issue to explore. Carner ’s description of Jerusalem’s landscape is intoxicating and sensory; from the silky pink flowers of the almond orchard, to the Cyclamens peeking out from thousand-year old stones, to the uncorking of the linseed oil for paint and the description of the ancient buildings surrounding the rugged hills. Esther has a special relationship with her father, and loves that he considers her an intelligent person, worthy of conversations.... [yet] still hopes for her betrothal by 13."

 

& Long Island Woman

 

By Debbi Honorof

"Talia Carner has written an exquisite tale that recreates a city and its people and beckons the reader to follow Esther through her adolescence in Jerusalem, married life in Jaffa, and a visit to Paris that transforms her."

 

 

 

INTERNET BUZZ AMONG LEADING BOOK BLOGGERS:

 

&    La Bibliofille

 

By Alice McNamara
     "Jerusalem Maiden is a lovely book. It is well-researched, and Carner understands what life is like for the Haredi community. They are truly learned in the Torah and the Talmud, yet are otherwise beset by poverty and ignorance. They subsist on the charity of the Jews of the world, yet condemn them for their lack of righteousness and adherence to God’s word (as the Haredi interpret it!). This dichotomy continues today.

    "I highly recommend Jerusalem Maiden. Many thanks again to the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program for sending me this book".

 

 

& ReadersWell

 

By Emily Hiesl

     "The sense of urgency in the story, leading up to Esther's climactic decision, is breathless…. Esther's "impertinent" character and her reactions are believable through all the twists and turns she takes…. Her confusion and desperation amidst so many trials and betrayals are immediate and heartrending to read about - I was completely absorbed in this story, which happens to be based on author Carner's grandmother but veers in a what-if direction … this novel is a great exploration of faith in the face of changing times and places… great character development and language as rich and expressive as any of Esther's beautiful paintings.  A terrific read, well worth a look in June 2011."

 

 

&  BookViews

 

By Alan Caruba

     "History is the backdrop for an excellent novel by Talia Carner... This is a gripping piece of fiction that many will find has reverberations in modern times as well."

 

 

& LibraryThing

 

By Rayna Eliana 

     "...the book for you. The tapestry of destiny is woven within the pages as Esther struggles to find relief and contentment within the Ultra-Orthodox world...[Esther] is a multifaceted character.... as she struggles to find relief and contentment within the Ultra-Orthodox world... I enjoyed Jerusalem Maiden, by Talia Carner, and recommend it to everyone, no matter their religion."

 

 

& Great Thoughts

 

By Andrea Peskind Katz
"If you are a fan of the fabulous book The Red Tent, you will like Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner.... it is a great historical story ...Carner does a masterful job of describing the poverty in Meah Shearim, where Esther and her family live. You literally feel their hunger and the abject poverty.... you feel her anguish vividly as she decides to go down a path she doesn’t want.

The book is cleverly written ... and is really at its best at the end when Esther is old and her granddaughter comes into the story.

This is a very powerful book with amazing descriptive writing. Carner does an outstanding job of conjoring the time and setting of the book. Any fan of historical fiction will adore this book!"

 

 

& TinyLibrary

 

     "Carner is a talented writer and her descriptions of the locations in the book (Jerusalem, Jaffa, Paris) were very vivid....   As I find religion fascinating, I loved the parts dealing with her childhood and community and felt that it was done very well - informative but not over the top.  Carner had also obviously completed extensive research about her era and setting as everything just felt right, like being transported back in time.

     "Esther was a great main character in that she was easy to sympathize with.... The relationships in the book were well written. 

....well worth a read.  It reminded me of The Historian in that the setting was just as important as the characters and I was left with an urge to visit Jerusalem and go back in time to pre-WW2 Paris."

 

& GoodReads

 

By Holly Weiss

     "The book is an excellent mirror of Orthodox Jewish culture in the early twentieth century. Descriptive images abound: fried Shabbat challah sprinkled with sugar, squawking chickens hanging by their feet in the market, hair coated with olive oil then draped over the ears in a braid....  

The novel's message is universal for those repressed by society, religious order, or self-induced guilt."

 

 

& Best Damn Creative Writing Blog

 

By Jonathan Brett Kennedy

     "It’s rare to find a book where you want to find out how the story ends, but you hold yourself back because you don’t want to leave the world the author has created.  Jerusalem Maiden is just such story.

….This book’s central theme is about not denying who you truly are.  In many ways, it recalls the works of Sholom Aleichem, whose work is best known through the stage adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof.  The characters are simple people that the reader cannot help but love.  The traditions, even when they seem outdated in the 21st century, make us long for a simpler time."

 

 

& WriterFace

 

By Fran Lewis

     "As I read the book I hear Esther’s voice, understand her desires and feelings and the Jewish words...it was like taking a journey back in time…. Traditions brought to light. Discussions about the role of women, girls and how they differ from both men and boys added by Esther’s strong commentaries and opinions makes this book unique. …

… Fate plays a hand in Esther's destiny.  What will she ultimately do? What about her role as a Jewish Maiden? …A forbidden relationship and a hidden secret that remains concealed. An ending that will surprise the reader, help you understand her final fate and decision. Will she go and find her Primordial Light or will it be extinguished? … 

 

     Read this heartfelt, thought provoking and outstanding novel by author Talia Carner. Esther is so vividly portrayed. Outspoken, tenacious and definitely not your typical Jewish Maiden with thoughts and ideas of her own and a voice that is definitely heard by the reader. ...This is one book that everyone should read filled with so much history, tradition and Jewish expressions.... Thank you for the honor of reading and reviewing this outstanding novel."

 

 

& Stargazer

 

By Pujitha Krishnan Fernandes

     "This is a great story, very well-written with so many details of the daily lives of the people. Carner has made the story more than about a religion or even religion – it has a universality.... this story is an eye-opener.

     Jerusalem Maiden is clearly Esther’s story, but it is peopled with some very memorable characters. I loved going with Esther on this journey....I grew to care so much about Esther that throughout I was rooting for her to find peace.

     Verdict: Highly recommended. Even those who have no strong feelings about god/faith or religion will be pulled into Esther’s story."

 

 

& The Lost Entwife

 

By Lydia

“… a very approachable, easy to read story about a young Jewish girl pre-WWI.

… I’m familiar with some Jewish traditions and rituals, but this book took them all to a new level with the strictness Esther and her family lived by those rules.  Just being kosher wasn’t even – but being raised, as a female, to be the “salvation” of the Jewish race and having all that weight put on you – I can’t even imagine.

 

“…In a way, the story reminded me of another of my favorites, A Long, Long Time Ago & Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka, … I am glad I read this book just for the information I received about a time I really haven’t read that much about and a sect of the Jewish people I knew very little about.”

 

 

&  Life in Review 

 

by Michelle Vasquez

"Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner is a beautiful story that will take you away to another time and place. It’s a story that will touch you and will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

I very highly recommend this book. It is very beautifully written and it’s an emotional roller coaster. … I understood [Esther's] struggles as a young girl and my heart went out to her…she is a powerful character that I won’t soon forget. I really enjoyed the era and the settings of the story! The author takes you away and makes you feel like you’re there. I was extremely impressed with Ms Carner’s writing and I will definitely be looking for more of her books.”

 

 

&  Unabridged Chick

 

By Audra Friend

“Having just finished this book, I'm still flailing (internally) and sort of waving my arms because I'm so caught up in the bittersweet ending and the story of the characters. This was a beautiful, moving novel.

The setting of this book was wholly alien to me and yet Carner's writing and brilliantly conceived characters plunged me into the story and Esther's world.  Esther might be one of the most moving and compelling heroines I've read in a long time: her complicated relationship with her faith, her God, her family, and her community was gripping.

…I found it beautifully written and easy to read. Despite Esther's life being so unlike mine, her emotions and responses were so authentic, I could appreciate and relate to her and I cared so very, very much about how things would turn out for her. I think this would a fantastic book for discussion groups and book clubs, and anyone interested in novels about unusual faith communities. Or, frankly, any reader who wants to be caught up in a beautifully told story.”

 

 

& BiblioSue

 

By Sue

“… being the francophile that I am, I loved the part of the book set in Paris the best; but it wasn't only the setting that I loved reading.  It's probably a cliche but when she was in Paris, Esther - sheltered from the outside world essentially her whole life - was allowed to completely be herself, without any obligations to anyone but herself.  …and for that I have to admire her ability to develop such courage. 

I found Jerusalem Maiden to be enjoyable and an insightful look into Orthodox Jewish life in the early 1900s.”

 

 

&  Book Journey

 

By Sheila DeChantal

"In a word: passionate.
Talia Carner had me from the first pages of this well written, well thought out book. Even as I type now I find myself taking a deep breath as I recall turning the pages, at once fascinated and curious with where I would be taken on this particular book journey....seriously here – I am looking for the words to let you know this book amazed me.

It made me think about passions and talents in general and how our lives are shaped, much like Esther’s by choices and life happenings beyond our control. It made me think about how does one choose between right and right?

A page turner for sure, but know that while this book speaks of faith, it is not (not exactly anyway) Christian Fiction, nor is it marketed that way.... Overall, if you enjoy Historical Fiction this is a wonderful read. I was delighted to not find it to be a heavy read, but instead it was like taking a journey with Esther walking together through Jerusalem and through her life."
 

& Books Like Breathing

 

By Grace

"This is another book that I stayed up and read for hours when I should have been sleeping....

I must begin by saying that I am not Jewish and have very little knowledge of Orthodox Jewish culture. I did, however, identify with Esther’s story. She found her dreams and talents clashing with her beliefs and what was expected of her by her family and her community.

Jerusalem Maiden was an amazing coming of age story...this is one of the better ones that I have picked up. The writing was vivid and engaging. ...I’m not religious at all so I really can’t commiserate with that part of Esther’s story but I can with her desire to meet the expectations of her family as well as follow her dreams and live up to her talent."
 

 

&  Woman Around Town

 

By Charlene Giannetti

"Rarely does a novel come along that succeeds on so many levels. Talia Carner’s Jerusalem Maiden is indeed well written, her descriptions of Jerusalem in the early 1900s, so vivid we are transported to another place and time. Meticulously researched, we learn a great deal of history, how the Ottoman Empire’s final days affected those caught in the crossfire. And we also are brought inside the Orthodox Jewish society, learning what it was like for women growing up in such an ultra-religious community.

Yet behind the well-developed story line, Carner raises questions that have no easy answers. Does God punish us for our transgressions? Reward us for our good deeds? And who is qualified to interpret God’s plan?"
 

 

& Book Room Review

 

By Christina Zawadiwsky
"
Ms. Carner captures the true and universal essence of childhood (Esther’s favorite part of life) and the struggles in growing older and taking on familial and religious responsibilities, especially in the Haredi faith, in which there are hundreds of rules. Paris at the beginning of the century is also vividly portrayed. Jerusalem Maiden (which is how Esther signs her artworks) is rich and full and talks of longing and dreams and even, unexpectedly, fulfilled hopes – but always with a consequence. Reading Jerusalem Maiden has made me want to read Ms. Carver’s other two books, Puppet Child and China doll, and I high recommend Jerusalem Maiden itself as a very satisfying historical and cultural experience."
 


& Diary of a Stay-At-Home Mom

 

By Sandra

"I was intrigued, being that I'm an Historical Fiction AND Bible Lover, I knew this book would have me engaged from the get go......and that it did.

The way the characters are written is so engaging and so endearing, you find yourself loving every single one of them, wanting to help them and sit with them for a spell. I found myself turning the pages slowly, savoring every single word and as I neared the end of the book I had this overwhelming bitter sweet moment, I wanted to see where it ended but I didn't want to say goodbye to Esther OR to the author.

This book was brilliant. I think one of the biggest things I noticed too was the traditions and the simple way things were done, and you know me I'm all about Simpler Times and often wish I could just turn back the clock and go back to when things were easier, simpler, truer. ...Love this book and highly recommend it."

 

 

 & Reviewed by Mom

 

"I had saved the BEST for last. I thought this book was very well written, had interesting history, was heart-breaking and hopeful, all that you want in a good book!

I could not put his book down and was sorry when I finished it. As a matter of fact, when I read the last page I was booting up my pc so that I could look at Esther's art online. Wait a minute, Esther was a character in a book, there would be no art to look at ! When a writer can get you to believe that the character is a real person, they have written a great book. Do yourself a favor and read this book."

 

 

&   Forward

 

By Daniella Wexler

“Jerusalem Maiden” ...makes a salient distinction between religion and religious establishment. ...[the novel] sheds light on issues of communal pressure and female vulnerability that, unfortunately, still play out in religious communities today."

 

 

& Seaside Book Corner

 

By Susan Curtis

"Jerusalem Maiden held my interest and won't be forgotten for a long time. I wanted to keep reading and not stop. I am sorry the book ended. I loved the surprise ended.
...I think this is a good Jewish book read. I will most likely recommend this to our book club. It is a great jumping off point to talk about women(especially Orthodox vs. other jewish women).

But, most of all I enjoyed reading about the character's, and the different people that lived in pre-Jerusalem. There is a love interest and there are explicit sexual scenes. But, I think this is necessary for the book."

 

 

& Diary of a Stay-At-Home Mom

 

By Sandra

"This book was brilliant.... the characters are so engaging and endearing, you find yourself loving every single one of them, wanting to sit with them for a spell. I found myself turning the pages slowly, savoring every single word... near the end I had this overwhelming bitter sweet moment, ...I didn't want to say goodbye to Esther OR to the author....
Love this book and highly recommend it."

 

 

& Rundpinne

 

By Jennifer

"When a book passes my way that makes me stop, think and utter “wow!”, I know it is a book I shall be sharing and Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner is just such a book. ...Carner creates an exceptional protagonist in Esther and through extremely vivid descriptions, the reader will easily be transported to another time and for this reader, to a religion very foreign to me.... Jerusalem Maiden is beautiful, and at times sad, yet always realistic look at life’s difficulties; the struggle for personal identity intermingles with community, faith, and family. ...I would recommend Jerusalem Maiden to all readers and especially to book discussion groups."

 

 

&  Peeking Between the Pages

 

By Darlene

"A beautifully told novel that had me feeling as though I was experiencing the sights and sounds of Jerusalem and later Paris through the words of the author. I love reading novels that take me away to another place, another culture, and another religion. I was somewhat familiar with some of the traditions of the Jewish religion but this novel took it to a whole other level ...It's a look into a life that most of us can never imagine living and for that very reason, it's a great book to read. The writing itself is beautiful and so vivid."
 

 

&  Reading Through Life

 

"What I found really fantastic, was the way that the author created these complex (and ultimately flawed) characters that really stuck with me. I wanted things to go differently for them, and it just didn’t always work out.

... Beautifully crafted characters and vivid situations. You’ll also learn a bit about the community, culture, and religion, and become engrossed in Esther’s journey to figure out what’s right for her. But in the end, it’s about putting yourself in the place of someone else, and feeling their pain and frustration at the lives they’ve been given."

 

 

& Good Girl Gone Redneck

 

"... this is not a book to be rushed through, but a story that needs to be fully enjoyed, revealed slowly through each chapter - or perhaps - honestly, through each and every page.

... I love the ways that the author tied together the information we were lacking before the end, and how the connections nearly exploded across the page for us, the reader, who then became somewhat surprised - but pleasantly so."

 

 

&       Bermuda Onion

 

"...I became fascinated with Esther and her struggles and also learned a lot about the religion....Carner’s writing is beautiful and her descriptions made me feel like I was there.... I enjoyed the glimpse of the Hasedi religion and World War I era Israel and Europe.

There was an event in the epilogue that took me totally by surprise and I found I wanted to know more at that point, so I didn’t want the book to end....I’m glad I read it.  Several days later, it’s still on my mind.  It made me think and reflect and taught me some new things. " 

 

 

& Bookworm's Dinner

 

By Wisteria

"Jerusalem Maiden is a sensitive and poignant novel... Talia Carner’s prose is expressive and flows with ease.  The setting is imaginatively realized with a photographer’s eye.  Esther will be remembered as a tangible heroine with an indomitable presence. Easily, a top pick for 2011.  Highly recommended."
 

 

&  Of Books and Reading

 

"...a fascinating story that highlights the internal conflict that Esther experiences... the novel never loses the focus on Esther’s conflict ...Carner has developed “Jerusalem Maiden’s” characters with rare skill. One finds they are drawn into the characters’ personal conflicts, caring deeply that the outcome will be favorable for a particular individual....
I recommend “Jerusalem Maiden” to any reader who is looking for a fascinating read. It is a well written, deeply personal portrait of a young woman struggling to follow her dreams without sacrificing her family or the principles by which she has been raised. You will find yourself hoping that she can do so."
 

 

& The Window Seat Reader

 

"This is a historical fiction novel that has the power to transport its readers into another time and place. I enjoyed exploring the city of Jerusalem through Esther's eyes getting a feel for the corruption that took place as the Ottoman Empire was in its decline... Historical fiction fans will largely appreciate this book.... This would be a great book club pick - lots of potential discussion topics."
 

 

 &  Life is Short--Read Fast
 

By Jennie

 "I vacillated between heart-breaking sadness for Esther and hard anger over the culture in which she lived. The writing was so well done I could feel the melting heat and oppressive religious intolerance bearing down on her. I cheered when she attempted to make her own destiny and gasped when things went drastically different than I anticipated. Throughout this story the presence of art and beauty was painted letter-by-letter. Beautiful descriptions of art and locations flowed throughout the pages weaving a magnificent tale of passion and duty."

 

 

& eZine Articles

 

By Cheryl A. Chatfield, Ph.D.

"I cried near the end. I don't do that too often with novels anymore, so that was a nice surprise. The story carries the reader through to the conclusion with no break in the action. I liked the main character, despite some of her foolish teenage decisions....

"We smell the odors, see the sights, hear the sounds, taste the foods and touch the fabrics she so loves, as the novel becomes a sensory experience into her two worlds."

 

& Bookworm With View

 

" In one word, I would describe this book as riveting.  I learned so much about a culture and time I knew nothing about... something I love to do while reading.

If you enjoyed The Red Tent, or The Diva and the Doctor you will love this book. I couldn't put it down, and the ending left me wanting more.  5 stars."

 

 

& Jade Keller

 

"'I just finished reading a book so enjoyable I felt annoyed watching a movie last night because it was taking me away from this precious book.... The story is emotional and gripping, heady and thoughtful, without the prose turning at all preachy, thick, or dull.
A definite recommended read."

 

 

& WindowSeat Reader

 

" This would be a great book club pick - lots of potential discussion topics. [In fact, I wish I had a book club because I have all these questions swirling around in my head right this minute!]

This is a historical fiction novel that has the power to transport its readers into another time and place. I enjoyed exploring the city of Jerusalem through Esther's eyes getting a feel for the corruption that took place as the Ottoman Empire was in its decline. It was also interesting to read about a faithful Jewish family and what their daily lifestyle would have looked like."

 

& A Thinker's Blog

 

"It’s rare to find a book where you want to find out how the story ends, but you hold yourself back because you don’t want to leave the world the author has created.  Jerusalem Maidenis just such story.

...this is a book that when finished, you will feel like you’ve lost your best friend and you’ll immediately want to start it all over again."

 

 

&  Recipe Girl

 

BEST BOOK OF SUMMER:

Jerusalem Maiden

by Talia Carner was the story of a young woman living in Jerusalem in the early 1900′s. Her family is of the most conservative Jewish sect and she is proud to be a part of that life. But, she is also a gifted artist and her religion forbids trying to copy/better what God has created. Throughout the story and her life she struggles with letting her talent flourish vs. honoring her God. It was a beautiful story spanning 60 years and eventually moving from Israel to Paris.

Dozens of rave reviews