Audiobook Review: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Goodreads

Release date: September 28, 2021

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Oy! to the world

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

Review:

Every year when I’m deep into my reading of holiday novels I always try and find books with some Jewish representation and y’all, it’s damn near impossible. I adore Christmas romances, it’s some of my favorite reading I do every year but it’s a shame that it’s so hard to find Hanukkah romances when there are a zillion Christmas ones. So last year when I saw the announcement for this book I was so excited! I’m not Jewish just to be clear, but I still love to read about different traditions and I love that the publishing world is starting to diversify romance a little more, this book is definitely a huge step in the right direction and the author proved that Hanukkah romances can be just as warm and cozy as any Christmas one, I need more!!

The premise of this was so fun with Rachel being from a prominent Jewish family and a secret Christmas romance author, talk about a juxtaposition! I loved that her secret was harmless but super funny and could relate to her love of all things Christmas in a major way. While I adored Rachel as a character, especially seeing how resilient she is as she struggles with a chronic illness, the whole cast of characters were such a delight as well. Her best friend Mickey was so much fun and their friendship was so special. As someone who knows very little about Judaism myself this managed to share special parts of the culture and religion in a way that I think would appeal to both Jewish readers and those who know nothing about Judaism which I think can be a tricky balance but it was handled so well here. This was so funny, warm, sweet and tender, everything I want in a holiday romance for sure. The audio was also fantastic, Dara Rosenberg captured Rachel’s voice perfectly and was exactly who I would’ve handpicked myself to narrate.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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