Book Review | The Disappearing Dowry
by Libi Astaire

Score: 4

In this highly engaging and captivating story, the reader is held spellbound as the narrator spins the tale of the near tragedy that almost befell her family when a thief steals her father’s hidden coins on the same day the banks fail in Regency London. The family is assisted by a wealthy, yet scholarly gentleman, Mr. Ezra Melamed. a Jewish “Hercule Poirot,” if you will, who – with the help of a “Talmudic mouse” and his daughter’s Chasidic Rebbe – follows the most minute clues to uncover the truth behind the robbery.

The author’s writing style is based on Jane Austen. I believe she has done a fair job in that attempt, through exacting detail and by weaving a plethora of characters into the story. All of them evoke some emotion as we encounter the charming Dickensian-street urchin-orphans who literally “come to the rescue,” the malevolent and obnoxious aristocrats who feel entitled to something for nothing, the heartbreaking apprentice who travels to find his beloved only to learn that she has been betrothed to another and many more. The story depicts an historical period not often seen in Jewish fiction and most importantly, demonstrates the efforts the Jewish community will go to in assisting one of its own during times of great trouble.

This is a delightful book and an easy and quick read. I highly recommend it for all Jewish libraries.

Grade Range: 7th-12th grades

This book is for TEEN Readers.

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