I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Released: September 28th 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
“If you are looking for a book that is thought provoking, but also leaves you feeling warm inside at the end then this is the book for you.”~ Under the Covers
Rachel Rubenstein- Goldblatt finds herself in an unenviable situation. She is about to lose her book deal unless she comes up with a book worthy idea for a Hanukkah romance. The problem? Rachel, though Jewish, is an unabashed Christmas fan and it is the primary source of her inspiration. In a desperate attempt to get inspired by Hanukkah, Rachel finds herself forced to volunteer at The Matzah Ball, a high end party being hosted by her summer camp nemesis/former crush, Jacob Greenberg. As the two find themselves in forced proximity old feelings rush back to the surface, but can the two overcome old hurts and misunderstandings to find their own happily ever after?
In my opinion, with The Matzah Ball, Jean Meltzer has created a fantastic Hanukkah romance. She manages to maintain the magical happily ever after atmosphere that we often associate with the holiday season while also tackling the challenges and stigma associated with chronic illness. In many ways The Matzah Ball is not only the story of how Rachel and Jacob fell for each other, but also of how they learned to love and accept themselves as they are.
In terms of the characters, I found both Jacob and Rachel very relatable and lifelike in their imperfections. I saw a lot of myself in Rachel in terms of her struggling with family expectations and doubting her self worth. I think most of us could relate to how the idea of a parental remark in childhood that “people are watching” could become internalized and continue to affect us as adults. I also really liked how, in the words of Shmuel, Jacob and Rachel “complete something [the other} lack [s]”. It really was a pleasure seeing their love story unfold and Rachel’s confession towards the end was truly epic.
Aside from Rachel and Jacob, I loved the characters of Mickey and Toby. Mickey is really the best friend we all need in our life, who will be there whenever you need him. And Toby, reminded me so much of my own grandma, who would always want to feed you, but would also never hesitate to set you straight when it was necessary.
If you are looking for a book that is thought provoking, but also leaves you feeling warm inside at the end then this is the book for you. I thought this was a great debut by Jean Meltzer and honestly can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
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