Jerusalem Maiden

Jerusalem Maiden

3.89 (1,827 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Talia Carner is a skillful and heartfelt storyteller who takes the reader on journey of the senses, into a world long forgotten."
--Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbird

"Exquisitely told, with details so vivid you can almost taste the food and hear the voices....A moving and utterly captivating novel that I will be thinking about for a long, long time."
--Tess Gerritsen, author of The Silent Girl

"Talia Carner's story captivates at every level, heart and mind."
--Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

The poignant, colorful, and unforgettable story of a young woman in early 20th-century Jerusalem who must choose between her faith and her passion, Jerusalem Maiden heralds the arrival of a magnificent new literary voice, Talia Carner. In the bestselling vein of The Red Tent, The Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Jerusalem Maiden brilliantly evokes the sights and sounds of the Middle East during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. Historical fiction and Bible lovers will be captivated by this thrilling tale of a young Jewish woman during a fascinating era, her inner struggle with breaking the Second Commandment, and her ultimate transcendence through self-discovery.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 454 pages
  • 132 x 200 x 22mm | 379.99g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0062004379
  • 9780062004376
  • 312,872

Back cover copy

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 "Jerusalem maiden."

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?
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Review quote

Engaging . . . Carner renders Esther s world with great authority and detail, revealing intimate familial rituals within the larger political and socioeconomic context. --Publishers Weekly"
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Rating details

1,827 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 29% (524)
4 42% (760)
3 22% (411)
2 5% (94)
1 2% (38)

Our customer reviews

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. The early 20th century was a tumultuous time in the world: the Ottoman Empire was crumbling, leaving residents of Jerusalem with famine, outbreaks of disease, conflict among the various communities, a loss of infrastructure; and later, World War I would cause further hardship. For the Esther's Haredi community, waiting for the coming of the Messiah, things are especially difficult, and she chafes at the life her family and her God has envisioned for her, one that, most tragically, requires her to give up her passion and talent in painting. While this is such a sad story, 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 more
by Unabridged Chick
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