Archive for September 8th, 2011

The Gostynin Shul

The Gostynin Shul by Kris Langman

4 stars

(Excerpt from Good Reads) Dr. Joanna Adelman leads a quiet life. She takes walks with her seeing-eye dog, Delilah, and tries to survive her Grandmother’s amateur attempts at Japanese cooking. Her work as a Yiddish translator adds small details to the story of Jewish immigration to Boston, but has never been the most exciting of careers. Until the Zielinski documents. They arrive in her office one morning – a jumble of handwritten pages in a cardboard box. Suddenly Joanna finds herself fending off an enraged Hasidic group intent on preserving its reputation, and a Boston society matron desperate to preserve her family’s wealth and status.

With the help of Ming Leibowitz, her Chinese-Israeli assistant, and Dr. Phillipa Henderson, a colleague specializing in African-American culture, Joanna delves into the layered history of Boston’s Beacon Hill and the fight over a small plot of land once owned by former slaves. The centuries-old struggle of Boston’s marginalized Jews and African-Americans to find a place to call home reignites in modern-day Boston, and old hatreds threaten to break a community apart.

Joanna works in the Archives of The Boston Archive and Research Library. She specializes in the Jewish immigration in the Boston area. Recently, a bunch of diaries and letters were donated to the Library that she was working on until the head the library, Catherine Lowell, decided that they were not important and shipped them to New York. But before they were gone, Joanna learns that there is a dead for some property that Catherine owns.

The property was a Jewish temple before it was sold to a black gentleman in 1930. How the property became part of Catherine’s family is under question. But when Joanna starts to look into the property, she is under attack. Delilah, her seeing eye dog is poisoned, an elderly Jewish gentlemen, Micah Levy, is determined to stop her from learning what really happened, then a restorations archive is set on fire with Joanna and her friends inside. When Joanna’s assistant, Ming, is kidnapped, things start getting really strange.

I really liked the story. There is great potential for a series. It was interesting learning about the different ethnic groups in Boston. The only thing that I was not impressed with is the ending. I won’t ruin it for everyone but I will say that it was blunt and a let down. Beyond that, I will be keeping my eyes out for other stories from Kris Langman.

I received this book for free from Book Rooster in exchange for an honest review. I’m sorry that I took so long to get to it.

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Cemetery Dance Publications is having a giveaway. When you promote the giveaway you are entered into it. On October 1, there drawing will be held for $1,000 in free books.  Of course I have to post this every where I can.

Check out Cemetary Dance Publishing for more information.



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