I chose to read this specifically because I’ve read and enjoyed Tamsen Parker’s ‘Compass’ series. Although I’ve read my share of erotica/BDSM, I can’t claim to enjoy the level of kink the Compass series is about; but dear readers, Parker writing is so good that I couldn’t not read that series. All that to say, it bummed me out that by the time I was 20% into this story, my opinion was already formed. I really wanted to like this story and I should have stopped reading because I wanted to put this book down (more than once). My feelings ran the gamut on this novella but not in a way that I found fulfilling. I just want a story that leaves me with a sense of ‘hey, that was a good story – I want MOAR like that’.
Thirty-seven year old divorcee Tzipporah Berger, PhD in religious studies, teaches her specialty at the local university. She has chosen the life of the Orthodox Jew. A few years prior, she’d divorced the husband who wouldn’t give her want she wanted, ‘to be hurt’ – her words not mine – during sex and who cheated on her. Since then, she’s changed her name and moved to a Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where she finds comfort, yet feeling/knowing that most of the community doesn’t accept her because she was raised Ba’alat Thesuva. There’s a glossary chock full of definitions for all the words I knew neither how to pronounce nor their meanings.
Elan Klein, a widower and the local neighborhood butcher, has lived in the community his entire life. After a bit of a push from the rabbi’s wife, Tzipporah thinks that because of his imposing presence, she might have a glimpse of the kind of marriage she wants with a husband like Elan.
As this is a relatively short, it’s hard to convey a relatable story. I couldn’t relate. I’m not even talking about the BDSM part. I’m not talking about a grown woman making grown a*s decisions that would best suit her – to each his own. I’m not talking about a woman who’s chosen to immerse herself into something she felt a calling to – be it being an Orthodox Jew or someone who likes ‘to be hurt’ during sex. I don’t give a good gosh darn about any of that.
I’m talking about feeling like I wasn’t even reading a story about a man and a woman in an arranged marriage who fall in love over time. I’m talking about the part where I felt like it was being preached to about people who are ‘different’ than societal norms. I’m talking about Tzipporah hating on her parents because they don’t understand the choices that she’s made. It’s not even that her parents disowned her, they just didn’t understand and I’m not convinced that Tzipporah ever had a sit down coming to Jesus (or maybe I should say Hashem) conversation about her choices either. Man up, Tzipporah.
Last, what put me into full seizure were the following buzz words: ‘micro-aggressions’ and ‘violated’ – spare me your hurt feelings and rhetoric and go find your ‘safe space’. Rant over.
Happy Reading Folks!
*Book provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Tamsen Parker
Release Date: September 16, 2015