Rashi’s Daugh­ters, Book Three: Rachel

  • Review
By – October 27, 2011

The third and final nov­el in Anton’s series tells the sto­ry of Rachel, the youngest daugh­ter of Rashi. While strug­gling with the eco­nom­ic dif­fi­cul­ties and polit­i­cal uncer­tain­ty caused in part by the First Cru­sade, Rachel must choose between her respon­si­bil­i­ties to her imme­di­ate fam­i­ly, par­tic­u­lar­ly to her father, and her desire to be with her hus­band dur­ing his trav­els through­out Europe and North­ern Africa. But such desire is com­pli­cat­ed by Rachel’s real­iza­tion that women in oth­er Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties lack the free­dom to par­tic­i­pate in Jew­ish study and rit­u­al, as Rachel has done with her sis­ters since she was a child. 

As she did in the oth­er two books, Anton has writ­ten a fas­ci­nat­ing and detailed sto­ry based on the his­tor­i­cal real­i­ties of life around the time of the First Cru­sade. Most impres­sive­ly, she weaves trans­la­tions of texts and debates over Jew­ish prac­tice into the sto­ry, bring­ing her knowl­edge of Tal­mud and Jew­ish rit­u­al into this book in an acces­si­ble and mean­ing­ful way. Read­ers — both those with and those with­out a back­ground in tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish learn­ing and Jew­ish his­to­ry — will enjoy Book III: Rachel for its engag­ing plot and his­tor­i­cal depth. Fam­i­ly tree, glos­sary, map, timeline.

Read Mag­gie Anton’s Posts on the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Review of Elie Wiesel’s Rashi”

Mag­gie Anton on Being a His­tor­i­cal Novelist

Mag­gie Anton on Jews and the First Crusade

Rachel Sara Rosen­thal is an envi­ron­men­tal attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Orig­i­nal­ly from Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, she grad­u­at­ed from Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2003 and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law in 2006.

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