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Life in Review: “Jerusalem Maiden” by Talia Carner

June 1, 2011

Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner is a beautiful story that will take you away to another time and place. It’s a story that will touch you and will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

Esther Kaminsky is an Orthodox Jewish girl living in Jerusalem. The story begins in 1911 when Esther is approaching marriageable age. In their village and in their culture, a young girl’s purpose is to learn how to run a household and to stay pure until marriage. The marriages were arranged by the parents and a daughter’s sole purpose was to get married and bring honor to her family. However, this was not a goal that Esther shared.

A teacher introduced Esther to the world of art and she discovered a love for drawing and painting and creating, but in their belief, this was a sin. Esther is forced to choose between her love of artistic creation and freedom, and her family and their beliefs.

I very highly recommend this book. It is very beautifully written and it’s an emotional roller coaster. I have to tell you honestly that I had mixed feelings about Esther. I understood her struggles as a young girl and my heart went out to her, but throughout the book I sometimes got frustrated with her. But, she is a powerful character that I won’t soon forget. I really enjoyed the era and the settings of the story! The author takes you away and makes you feel like you’re there. I was extremely impressed with Ms Carner’s writing and I will definitely be looking for more of her books.

(For my Christian book readers, this book is not a Christian fiction title.)

Book Summary:

Esther Kaminsky knows that her duty is to marry young and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival: that is what expected of young ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. But when her French teacher catches Esther’s extraordinary doodling and gives her art lessons, Esther wonders if God has a special destiny for her: maybe she is meant to be an artist, not a mother; maybe she is meant to travel to Paris, not stay in Jerusalem. However, when tragedy strikes her family, Esther sacrifices her yearning for painting and devotes herself instead to following God’s path as an obedient “Jerusalem maiden.”

In the coming years, Esther struggles with God’s decrees while suppressing her desires—until a surprising opportunity forces itself into her pre-ordained path. As her beliefs clash with passions she has staved off her entire life, Esther must confront the hard questions: What is faith? Is there such thing as destiny? And to whom must Esther be true, to God or to herself?

Buy Jerusalem Maiden: A Novel

Author Bio:

Talia Carner is formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women economic forums. Carner’s addictions include chocolate, ballet, hats—and social justice.

Visit Talia at her website, You can also friend her on Facebook.

Talia’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 31st: The Lost Entwife

Wednesday, June 1st: Life In Review

Thursday, June 2nd: Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, June 7th: Books Like Breathing

Wednesday, June 8th: Book Journey

Tuesday, June 14th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thursday, June 16th: Good Girl Gone Redneck

Monday, June 20th: Reading Through Life

Tuesday, June 21st: Rundpinne

Wednesday, June 22nd: Peeking Between the Pages

This book was provided for review by Harper Paperbacks.


Michelle V

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2011 3:31 pm

    I’m reading this now — it’s amazing!

  2. June 3, 2011 8:56 am

    Ooh, this one sounds like something I’d really enjoy! It’s set in both a time and place that I’m not very familiar with, and that makes it even more appealing.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for being on the tour.

  3. August 1, 2011 1:36 pm

    Thank you so much for your great review of JERUSALEM MAIDEN!

    I would also like to share with your followers the exciting book group promotions we have initiated: Groups that select JERUSALEM MAIDEN can participate in the drawings of unique gifts.

    1) A collectors’ edition bottle of JERUSALEM MAIDEN wine grown in the Jerusalem mountains–and carrying the label of the book’s cover art!
    2) A Holy Land religious package of three vials: Galilee anointment oil, holy water from the Jordan River, and stones from Jerusalem —for each attendee,
    3) An autographed copy of JERUSALEM MAIDEN.

    Please e-mail a photograph of your group holding their copies of the novel (Kindle screen is OK, too.)

    And of course, if my schedule permits, I’d be delighted to participate in the meeting over the phone. Please write to me via my website at .

    Either way, because of the social issues behind my writing, I always promise my readers a lively and thought-provoking discussion at the meeting.


    Talia Carner


  1. Jerusalem Maiden (TLC Tour Review) | Reading Through Life
  2. Talia Carner, author of Jerusalem Maiden, on tour June 2011 | TLC Book Tours

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