Saturday, April 23, 2022

Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

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.

Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 28, 2021 
3.5/5 stars

Sometimes a rom/com is what this reader needs, I read this just before Christmas while in a ‘read more holiday books’ kick. The world was still in limbo and rom/coms, when done right are a nice distraction.

The blurb for The Matzah Ball sounds fun. Rachel has a secret, she loves Christmas but given that she is Jewish and her father is a well known Rabbi complicates things. Oh, and Rachel is also the author of Christmas romance novels, that’s her big secret.

On one hand this was a fun read, the animosity between her and old time friend Jacob played out with comical situations as they are thrust together after avoiding each other for years. Working together has Rachel rethinking her life, her beliefs and the past.

Now on to the other hand. I struggled to really understand the falling out that caused this great division between Rachel and Jacob, suffice to say it didn’t really work for me. The ending wrapped things up nicely and for a Christmas rom/com that’s a good thing.

This book was part of my 2021 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

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