This book review was first published on Jewesses With Attitude, the blog of The Jewish Women’s Archive.
March 2005 was the absolute worst month of Andi L. Rosenthal’s life. She broke off her engagement to her fiancé. Ten days later her father died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage. Then she lost her job.
Rosenthal was understandably lost. “It was [writing] the book that brought me back to life,” she said. “I couldn’t live in my life, so I made one up.” The book to which she referred is The Bookseller’s Sonnets, her debut novel, and the life she invented was that of Jill Levin, the book’s protagonist.
The Bookseller’s Sonnets is a multilayered fictional story of interfaith relationships and hidden identities spanning five centuries. It chronicles the story of a mysterious package from an anonymous artifact donor that arrives at the desk of Jill Levin, senior curator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. The artifact appears to be a diary written by Margaret More, the eldest daughter of Saint Thomas More, legal advisor to Henry VIII. As Levin works with colleagues to authenticate the diary (using clues from letters arriving to her from the Holocaust survivor who donated it), representatives from the Archdiocese of New York move in to lay claim to it in an attempt to prevent its explosive contents from becoming public.
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© 2010 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.
Tags: 0 Books, Andi L. Rosenthal, debut novel, historical fiction, Holocaust, interfaith relationships, Jewish writers, Margaret More, Museum of Jewish Heritage, St. Thomas More, The Bookseller's Sonnets