Trail of Miracles by Smadar Herzfeld: A Review

Gittel, the daughter of a torah scholar, is only twelve when she is sought out as a wife for a much older rabbi.  She doesn't like her husband's cold and unfeeling ways of dealing with her but finds comfort in her father-in-law, a man who is renowned among the Hasidim in her community.  She also finds great joy in her two sons.  When both her father-in-law and husband die in quick succession, Gittel is encouraged by her community to seek a new husband.  Her husband visits her in dreams to demand that she not remarry and Gittel is more than happy to oblige, remembering the loneliness she felt in her marriage.  She instead decides to embark on a journey to Jerusalem as she once did as a child with her brother.

This book was very short and an interesting story but it was a bit slow for me.  I felt that the story had a lot more potential than was presented.  There were simply not enough words for good characters to be built but they were likeable.  I liked Gittel and her story.  One thing that I liked about this book was that the author did not take a judgmental viewpoint about the cultures that she was writing about.  All religions and cultures in the book were treated with respect.  I have read a lot of books about the Hasidim and that is not always the case.  While there are many practices of their culture that modern Westerns may not understand, such as Gittel's young marriage, one must understand that this was not so uncommon in the community at that time.  While the book was much slower than I wished it would have been and was not as developed as I would have liked, I still enjoyed the book.  I think it would be a good book for those looking for a cultural read or historical fiction, especially for those interested in Eastern European Jewish culture.

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Reviews of books like this one:
What To Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This book is currently available and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book.  This is my honest opinion of this book.  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program.  By clicking on the Amazon link and purchasing this product, I receive a small fee.  I am not associated with Goodreads or Barnes and Noble in any way and the links provided are available strictly for your convenience and not to imply a relationship of any kind.

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