Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner

Esther Kaminsky is a young Orthodox Jewish girl around the age of 12 who lives in the holy city of Jerusalem.  In this time, a woman is expected to marry and produce many sons to hasten the arrival of the Messiah.  While Esther understands this role she is to play, she has trouble accepting it.  Secretly she desires to draw and wonders about exploring beyond her religion to possibly study in Paris.  When her teacher catches her extraordinary talent for drawing, he gets her colored pencils and art lessons.  Again Esther wonders if perhaps God has chosen her to be an artist and now a mother.

When tragedy strikes her family, Esther puts aside her dreams and instead follows the path that was chosen for her and becomes an obedient “Jerusalem Maiden”.  Yet its hard to smother a strong desire and that desire still burns within Esther.  When an opportunity arises Esther has a clash of faith and passion… and forces her to confront the most difficult question of all… “to who must she be true?”

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.

Divided into 4 important parts of Esther’s life:  Maiden, Marriage, Motherhood, and Artist, each opening into pages of deliciously detailed descriptions of life, and family, and dreams.  Historically beautiful…. 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.  There are a few parts in the book that will make that quite clear to you as there  are a couple of sex scenes and a few situations that I found fitting to the nature of the book.

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. 

Talia Carner and me

Side note:  I had the opportunity to meet the lovely and talented Talia Carner at the Harper Collins Book Blogger Reception a few weeks ago when I was in New York for BEA.  She was wonderful to talk to and I find myself now curious about her other books, China Doll and Puppet Child.

Thank you to TLC book tours for a chance to read this book

Thank you to Harper Collins Book Blogger Reception for the chance to meet Talia Carner.

27 thoughts on “Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner

  1. This book sounds very interesting and the cover art is beautiful. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Since you commented on this book on my It’s Monday… post, I thought I’d let you know my review of The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness is up. Swing by, when you have a chance.

  2. I love the look and the sound of this book. I have’t heard of it before which makes me wonder if we don’t have it here in the UK (plus the cover – which I love – is not very “UK market”).

    I used to live in Israel (2 years in the early-mid ’90’s) and so I am obsessed by any books set there. Jerusalem is my favourite place in the whole world.

    I have to find this book! Lovely review, Sheila, thanks 🙂

    1. It was just released on June 1…. it may now be there yet. I have total cover love on this one too 🙂

      How awesome you lived in Israel – have you ever posted about that? I would love to know more about your experience.

      1. Oh maybe we’ll get it over here later then – yay!

        I have posted about Israel quite a few times, Sheila, I have such wonderful memories of being there.

        I have just reviewed a book today also called The Attack but it’s about a suicide bomber so not a light read (but a great read!)

    1. I had it ready for the tour by the time I met Talia so that was really awesome Kathy! I am hoping to connect with her for an interview here, just have not had the time to make that happen. 😀

  3. I’m really interested in this book. I’ll look forward to putting it on my list and reading it at some point this year. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Oh my goodness that cover is gorgeous! The fact that book sounds amazing and is a great historical fiction novel (one of my fave genres) tells me I need to get my hands on a copy stat!

  5. Oh wow Sheila, this sounds like one great read. I love historical fiction, and I do appreciate one set in a time/place such as this book. It has just gone on my list of books to read. I am so tempted to run out and buy but I really must not as I have a stack of books screaming at me to read. sigh…

  6. A saw of review of this book somewhere else a few days ago and it looks like an absolute must read! I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this looks like such a beautiful read!

  7. I like your one-word description. “Passionate” is certainly a great word. And how fun that you got to meet the author! I saw her at the reception but wasn’t familiar with her books at the time so I missed the chance to talk to her.

    So glad you enjoyed this one Sheila. Thanks for being on the tour!

    1. Jennifer from Harper Collins brought me over to meet her because of this tour… it was really fun to meet but did not get much of a chance to talk as it was loud and crowded. 😀 I am going to try to connect with her for an interview.

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