The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner. Poignant, beautiful, magical! #review

Synopsis

An evocative combination of fantasy, history, and Jewish folklore, The Light of the Midnight Stars is fairytale-inspired novel from the author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood.Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in his descendants. Gathering under the midnight stars, they pray, sing and perform small miracles – and none are more gifted than the great Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters. Each one is blessed with a unique talent – whether it be coaxing plants to grow, or predicting the future by reading the path of the stars.

When a fateful decision to help an outsider ends in an accusation of witchcraft, fire blazes through their village. Rabbi Isaac and his family are forced to flee, to abandon their magic and settle into a new way of life. But a dark fog is making its way across Europe and will, in the end, reach even those who thought they could run from it. Each of the sisters will have to make a choice – and change the future of their family forever.

For more from Rena Rossner, check out The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

 

Review

 

5 atmospheric stars

 

“We are the children of Solomon, children of the light.”

 

Author’s note: “This is a fantasy novel, and much license was taken in order to weave all these various legends, myths, tales and historical events together into the story I wanted to tell. It is a story entirely my own, but based on an incredible history of stories and storytellers that have come before me.

I never figured out where my grandmother actually came from or why she lit candles in a closet – but perhaps the story I was able to tell as a result is more important than the truth.”

 

Why do I begin my review with part of the author’s note?

Because I think this is the best way to convey what this book is: a tapestry of legends, tales, myths and folklore, centered around Jewish folklore that embarked me on a hauntingly beautiful journey.

This book was the one I never expected.

 

I am a romance reader turned all-genres reader but had never thought of reading a story about Jewish folklore.

When the UK editor of The Light of the Midnight Star reached out to me to offer a copy of the book after she read my comment on a post, I was surprised, intrigued and curious about that book.

This turned out one of the best surprises from my reader’s life!

And I must add that being gifted that book didn’t affect my rating nor my review in any way. I swore to always be honest in my reviews because I write them for YOU, the readers, and not for the publishers or authors. And that’s what I’m doing here.

 

But let’s backtrack; what is the Light of the Midnight Star about?

To make it short, this is about the lives of three sisters, daughter of a Rabbi living in Hungary centuries ago.

The family is descendant of King Solomon, known for his magic.

As the synopsis said: “Gathering under the midnight stars, they pray, sing and perform small miracles – and none are more gifted than the great Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters.”

Every daughter has her own unique gift but one day, tragedy will strike after they helped a stranger and the family will be forced to flee Hungary, seeking shelter in Wallachia.

 

We learn so much about Jewish traditions and folklore! And I realized that I knew so little about their beauty.

All along, we also see how Jews have been chased and accused of evil every time a disaster struck a country. This is not written in a patronizing way. This is not told to you but rather shown to you.

I am no writer and it’s sometimes difficult to convey my thoughts and feelings. But reading that book, written from three POV, one for each sister, alternating short chapters, between poetry and prose, following them from tragedy to tragedy, from sacrifice to sacrifice, opened my eyes like no history book has done before.

That people have suffered so much throughout centuries. It stopped being an abstract albeit awful concept to become MY reality while reading that story.

How soul crushing it must be to hide your true identity, your faith, your beliefs and to pretend just because you want to survive. I was hurting, my soul was screaming alongside Sarah’s, Hanna’s, Levana’s and their people.

“Some evil is so unspeakable that the only way we can fight it is by telling a story. Over and over again, until history stops repeating itself.”

I think books like this one should be read by everyone, in every school. To stop that circle of hate and fear of whom is different than us. To stop history from ever repeating itself.

 

But make no mistake, if there is tragedy in that book, there also is beauty. And light. And wisdom. It’s also an ode to acceptance, to the uniqueness of every man and woman on earth.

“There is no good and evil, no light and dark, no man or woman. Every one of us contains multitudes. Every one of us contains a spark of God.”

The fantastical element and poetry added an ethereal quality to that story, making you feel like walking in a dream. It was beautiful, poignant, haunting.

 

 “I always wanted to find someone who would be kind and gentle with my heart.”

 

I know this is a story that will stay with me for a long time thanks to its uniqueness.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sophie

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12 Replies to “The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner. Poignant, beautiful, magical! #review”

  1. Glad to see how many reading opportunities you’re getting nowadays, Sophie! I remember when being an international reader came with mandatory obstacles for books! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. I am still the first surprised Lashaan!

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this! It was a bit on the slow side for me, but the character development was phenomenal

    1. It began slow Mogsy but I was the first astonished that it didn’t bother me!

  3. Oh, wow! Sounds amazing! It’s great you were able to find out more about Jewish traditions and folklore.
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

    1. Thank you Genesis and it is great!

  4. Em @ The Geeky Jock says: Reply

    You have perfect time … I bought this book on my way home from work today! So glad you enjoyed it!!! – and fab review!

    1. I can’t wait for your thoughts Em!!

  5. This sounds wonderful and so unique!

    1. It is Suzanne!

  6. Beautiful review, looks like a fab book x

    1. It is Caro!!!

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