Category Archives: Novels

Culture Shock by C. Rosenberg

Culture Shock by C. Rosenberg is the tale of two friends, Yemima and Gittel who meet in Eretz Yisrael, after each flees the country of her birth.

FCulture shock by C Rosenberg coverrom the book’s publisher:

When the very heartbeat of life turns unfamiliarly hazy and gray, how does one distinguish between what is right, what is wrong, and what is simply “different”?  In the seething political cauldron of Eretz Yisrael post-1948, religious individuals struggle against the winds of the time and culture shocks they are not prepared for. …

Gittel: The daughter of a staunch Yerushalmi family who already suffered the loss of two sons – one to death and the other to patriotism – searches for acceptance among her peers in a setting where modern customs seem to have penetrated even the most guarded of enclaves. …

Tzachi: Having broken off contact with his family years ago, he’s overcome by pangs of homesickness and longing for his old home. Will he forever remain trapped in the shadows of his slain brother? …

Ezra: Interned in a transit camp in Yemen and then airlifted with his family to Eretz Yisrael during Operation Magic Carpet, he’s caught in the storm blowing across the land he has waited so long to call home. …

Yemima: An unusually bright, sensitive, and perceptive girl, she’s endured much suffering in her young life. Will she ever be given the chance to spread her own wings and begin anew in Eretz Yisrael, or does the instability of the times dictate a different reality?

Sounds like a heartwarming novel about a fascinating, turbulent era in our history.

From Israel Bookshop Publications.

Buy now from Amazon.com

Midnight Music by Menucha Chana Levin

Midnight Music is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fifth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

Midnight Music cover by Menucha Chana LevinMidnight Music first appeared as a serialized story in Binah Bunch Magazine.

From the back cover:

Tehilla Sherman was perfectly happy living in her comfortable old house in a small New Jersey town, attending the school run by her parents. Then, to everyone’s shock, the school has to close down due to lack of funds and her parents need to find new jobs.

At the end of the summer, Tehilla has to adjust to a very different lifestyle in a high-rise apartment in Brighton Beach, New York. There, she meets Galia, a girl originally from Russia, who is just starting to discover her Jewish heritage. Both Tehilla and Galia find themselves being challenged by new experiences. Can their mutual love of music help them to build a true friendship?

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the castle builders by menucha chana levin the youngest bride by menucha chana levin A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

Searching by Rochel Istrin

Searching by Rochel Istrin is a beautiful novel that deserves a second life. This gripping tale follows the story of a young mother and that of the family from which she is cruelly torn apart.

Searching by Rochel IstrinHere’s an excerpt from from the back cover copy:

Young and feisty Zelda must escape to far-off America when anti-Semitic villagers accuse her of espionage. She must leave behind her two small children, Yosseleh and Ruchka, her violinist husband Leizer – and life as she’s known it.

Dramatic enough right there, but then World War II intervenes and makes it impossible for Zelda’s family to join her in America.

After surviving in the forest with the partisans, Leizer finds himself on a freight train bound for Siberia – alone.

When the war ends, Zelda goes back to Europe, determine to find out what happened to her husband and children.

Will the family ever be whole again? Will Zelda ever be able to rebuild the tattered relationship with the child she left behind so young? Will Zelda and Leizer find each other once more?

This isn’t a long book, but is a suspenseful one. It’s also clearly well researched. Many Holocaust novels strive for some hope through contrived happy endings that are oh, so predictable. This isn’t one them. There’s hope here, and happiness, too, to be found among the tears, but they don’t come easy nor the way one would expect them.

Searching was Rochel Istrin’s first novel. Unfortunately for her, it was released just as her first publisher was closing and it never got the distribution and publicity this book deserved. So let’s try to make up for that now by giving this one a second shot and spreading the word. It’s a short book that’s worth the read.

Published by Targum.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase here now from Amazon.com.

Rochel Istrin is also the author of:

Hidden by Rochel Istrin

 

Pain Relief by Peri Berger

Pain Relief by Peri Berger is one of those books that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go – not for a long time after you’ve finished it. I was stunned by this one.

pain relief by peri bergerFirst, there’s the unusual subject matter. Yes, it’s a family drama. Yes, there are teenagers with problems involved. And as the cover and title suggest, someone is addicted to drugs.

But – here’s the first shocker – it isn’t one of the kids.

It’s Mom.

Here’s the book’s cover blurb:

Happy marriage, great kids, devoted parents, a flourishing business — Hindy Fishman seems to have it all. No job seems too big for her to tackle, no goal too far to reach. How can a simple fall change all that? Could this really be happening to her? How could someone like her wind up in rehab?

Well.  There are no trite answers here. Just like in real life, Hindy’s going to have to face what got her into this mess, and how her addiction has affected her family.

The author isn’t out to make us feel good, so there are no pat endings here.  Sometimes, when we make mistakes, we cannot unmake them.  We cannot take away the hurt we’ve inflicted on others, no matter how much we wish we could have a do-over.  Sometimes, the best we can do is learn to live with the consequences of what we’ve done.

If that sounds depressing, it’s not – it’s just to say that this isn’t a sappy book that bends reality just to make its readers feel good.  It’s a mature read that grows its characters and treats its readers with respect.

There is much here for adults, spouses, teenagers and parents to take away from this sobering and yet truly hopeful, loving novel.

It was my first introduction to Peri Berger, which is inexcusable, since this book is far from her first, and it was serialized in Hamodia, too.  It took me a while to digest it, but as soon as I could stop thinking about Pain Relief for a few minutes, what did I do but go pick up another Peri Berger novel!

Published by Jerusalem Publications.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase here now from Amazon.com.

Peri Berger is also the author of:

The Narrow Bridge by Peri Berger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zero Tolerance by Peri Berger

 

A Stranger to My Brothers by Henye Meyer

A well-researched historical coming-of-age novel, A Stranger to My Brothers is a standout book for teens that will appeal just as much to adults.

Stranger to My BrothersAt first glance, author Henye Meyer’s journey through early early Medieval times is a gripping tale of swashbuckling adventure.

The plot has enough drama to keep readers on the edge of their seats, flipping pages late into the night.

But there is far more to this novel.

The details of every day life 11th-century England, a time when paganism still smoldered and Christianity was just taking over, offer a window into a world we rarely get to see.

Martin is an orphaned teen and we get to travel with him through Europe, join the crusades, live through pogroms, walk through Hungary and explore Constantinople in all its Byzantine glory.

Martin’s dream to join the Byzantine emperor’s Varangians guard will introduce readers to groups and events that many history books have left out.

Through myriad little touches – the feel of different grades of woven fabrics, the balance of a well-made sword – Mrs. Meyer brings to life the world our ancestors inhabited.

There is more graphic violence in this book than most frum readers may be used to. Pogroms are violent and Mrs. Meyer doesn’t pretend they are not.

Frightening challenges abound, but the pleasures and human relationships that are not so different from ours today are all there, too.

The latter is where this novel really shines. Its realistic portrayal of an angry teenager is honest and fresh. Martin is an honestly portrayed abused, angry young boy.

He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder, he’s got a giant boulder. He’s selfish and callous one moment – and then heroically self-sacrificing the next. He’s rude, obnoxious and at times engages in deeply inappropriate behavior.

In other words, he’s a believable peasant teenager who grew up barely knowing he was Jewish. Despite that, Mrs. Meyer manages to make us love him and keep rooting for him, which is in itself really something!

What happens when he meets another Jew is not at all what one expects. The characters around him don’t fit stereotypes – the helping hands most often come from the least likely people. This is no smooth slide into a frum life with an easy happy ever after. Martin’s a tough kid and there are wrenching decisions, disastrous falls and many heartbreaks before he grows into a man and chooses his path.

There are also lots of unexpected flashes of humor and some complex other characters along the way.

Original, exciting, honest and real. Highly recommended for teens over 13 and adults.

A Stranger to My Brothers was previously published as Fall of the Sun God.

Self-published. (See our FAQ on self-published books.)

We received a review copy of this book.

Mrs. Henye Meyer is also the author of:

This Is America

This is America!

(Israel Bookshop Publications)

 

 

crocodile island

The Exiles of Crocodile Island

(ArtScroll Youth)

 

 


adrenaline rush

the humorous thriller, Adrenalin Rush (Menucha Publishers).

 

 

 

Starlight by Henye MeyerStarlight (Menucha Publishers)

 

Starlight by Henye Meyer

Starlight is the new novel from Henye Meyer.

Starlight by Henye MeyerMrs. Meyer is one of those few authors whose range is so wide that each book is a completely different adventure from the others.

While in previous books, she’s taken us to ancient Byzantium (see our review of Stranger to My Brothers) and turn-of-the-century America, this time, we are in Victorian England.

Although the book is written for a much younger audience than the author’s previous novels, the drama never stops. The tale of a young orphan match girl abused by her relatives who have taken her in, then rescued by a wealthy family, and cast out on the street once more, Starlight could have had all the makings of a cardboard cut-out stereotypical story. But in the skillful hands of Mrs. Meyer, it turns into a beautiful – and suspenseful – fairytale.

The author is known for the meticulously researched details of her characters’ time and place that really bring the story to life. It was fascinating to meet Baron Rothschild as a character and learn more about his travels to Eretz Yisrael from a contemporary point of view.

You can almost feel the author’s tongue-in-cheek approach as the Victorian melodrama plays out to its dénouement. Discerning adult readers will probably be smiling, but the story is heartwarming and preteen girls will love it. To be honest – so did I. It was a great read!

Published by Menucha.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase now from Menucha.

Mrs. Meyer is also the author of:

crocodile islandThe Exiles of Crocodile Island (ArtScroll Youth)

 

 

 

 

 

This Is AmericaThis is America! (Israel Bookshop Publications)

 

 

 

 

 

adrenaline rushAdrenalin Rush (Menucha Publishers).

 

 

 

 

Stranger to My Brothers

A Stranger to My Brothers (Self Published) and reviewed by us here.

A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

A Family for Frayda is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fourth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana LevinFrom the back cover:

Life’s not easy for fifteen-year-old Frayda. Her father suddenly passed away, her mother remarried and moved to New York, and Frayda was left behind in Jerusalem. Now Hadassah, the woman she boards with, is going to England on a business trip and Frayda needs a place to stay while she’s gone. Feeling alone and dejected, nothing seems to be working out for her. Then, one day in the local bookstore, Frayda meets Elisheva who introduces her to the friendly Glazer family and things start turning around. But can it last?

Readers will identify with Frayda throughout her journey of self-discovery and cheer her on through every obstacle. Her warmth and resilience will continue to inspire long after the last page has been turned.

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the youngest bride by menucha chana levin the castle builders by menucha chana levin