I cried near the end. I don’t do that too often with novels anymore, so it was a nice surprise. The story takes the reader to the conclusion without interruptions in the action. I liked the main character, despite some of his silly teenage decisions.
The story of Esther, who lived in Jerusalem in the early 1900s, takes us into the life of the Jewish people who adhere to strict rules at a time when the plight of women was to have as many children as possible to provide more Jews to populate the territory. area. Esther rebels against that future, wanting to be an artist after realizing her talent. Through a series of adventures, he abandons his artwork, marries, has children, and finds his love for painting again, only to have it once again disappear from his life. We live through the heartbreaking decisions you make and wonder if we would do the same.
We watch her grow from a rebellious young woman in Israel to a married, mature, rebellious adult in Paris. We smell the smells, we see the sights, we hear the sounds, we taste the food and we touch the fabrics that he loves so much, while the novel becomes a sensory experience in its two worlds.
We sympathize with this young woman who questions her faith and her strict rules, wondering what God wants her to do and not accepting the rules imposed on her. We learn about Jewish customs and traditions from this time when women were held hostage to a male-dominated culture. Esther tries to do the right thing and not follow the heat of her passion; he tries to honor the religious beliefs he loves, until it is too late to resist. There is joy, there is sadness. We remember how difficult it has been for women even in the early 20th century who wanted to pursue their own passions and how difficult it has been for women to choose between a religious belief and a personal destiny. Esther reminds us of those choices, good and bad. And yes, the role of religion is also good and bad.
We observe progress in history as religions and cultures change to allow a woman to be a voice. As I read this, I was wondering what the next step in the evolution of women would be. Will we ever be the ones to choose and decide? We think we have made it now, but I often wonder when I remember what it was like and observe how this is still a man’s world.
As I get older, I remember the decisions I made, the ones where I walked away from temptations and I feel good about it now. I have few regrets. Maybe I was lucky. And you?