Book Review: Please Say Kaddish For Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Image ©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

For the longest time I had trouble with reviews and seldom left feedback.  I usually thought, it’s all been said, I could only parrot what other people have already written, and they can do it better than I could.

This may be true, but now I’ve learned that comments really help the writer. Who doesn’t want to know if and how their writing affects the reader? Likewise, I had no idea about what’s involved in publishing books; feedback for books we like is important. I am willing to do better in the future. This is not going to turn into a book blogger site, but the occasional review will show up. And I urge you, dear readers, to do the same. When you find an author you like, please help to spread the word by leaving reviews and comments.
 I’ll start with a book (the first of a series) I wanted to read for some time, and now finally did.
It’s ‘Please Say Kaddish For Me’ by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Very brief summary: The story follows the fate of several Jewish families in Czarist Russia. Despite cruelty, terror and heartache, love and joy can’t be suppressed. Read more on the Amazon site or visit Rochelle’s author page.

It has been a while since a book has captivated me as much as Please Say Kaddish For Me. I could not put it down.

Antisemitism isn’t an invention of the Germans and Hitler, it has been around, with more or less violence, for a long time. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields shines a light on the pogroms and terrors Jews in Czarist Russia were subjected to. And while this is a serious theme and a well-researched piece of historical fiction, it is also wildly entertaining: at times funny, at times horrifying, gut-wrenching and then, again, heartwarming.

She tells her story by focusing on an extended family, with the protagonist Havah Cohen at the center. Havah connects all the story threads, all the characters and families. But these other people are by no means minor characters. Each of them is interesting, well rounded, with a back story, with wants and needs. As readers we can’t help but laugh with them, cry with them, and cry for them. The fates of the characters are harsh, and the author isn’t glossing over anything. She paints a complete picture of good times and bad, of love and hatred, happiness and terror. It’s a great read.

Next week, I’ll write about ‘From Silt and Ashes,’ the second book in the series. I can’t wait to get my hands on the third and final installment, ‘As One Must, One Can’ which will be published soon.


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