Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Book Review: "The Matzah Ball" by Jean Meltzer

Here's another rom-com for your holiday season, but this time it’s a Hanukkah one!

Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate! I don’t know about you, but for me, growing up Jewish was always a little tough on the holidays, because not a tremendous amount of attention was paid to Hanukkah. People don’t go Hanukkah caroling, and Charlie Brown and his gang didn’t mark the Festival of Lights. But I always loved the Christmas spirit and all that came with it.

Rachel loves Christmas, too, but since her father is a prominent rabbi, she has to keep that hidden. She also has to hide the fact that she’s actually a best-selling Christmas romance author. But when her editor says that their readers are tiring of the same-old holiday stuff and want something different—maybe a Hanukkah romance—Rachel is at a loss. Where will she find inspiration for that?

Inspiration enters in the form of Jacob Greenberg, the handsome festival organizer and mastermind behind the exclusive Matzah Ball. Jacob also happens to be Rachel’s first love—and heartbreak—back from their preteen summer camp days. And even though she still holds a bit of a grudge, she’s determined to get a ticket to the Matzah Ball.

I loved the representation in this book. Not only were there Jewish MCs and Shabbat candles, but Rachel also had chronic fatigue syndrome, and the book dealt with the mistreatment and prejudice and pity many with invisible illnesses face.

The thing that worked the least for me was the romance, believe it or not. I didn’t feel a ton of chemistry between Rachel and Jacob, and the pranks he played on her would’ve knocked him off my list, lol.

Still, I hope that The Matzah Ball signifies the start of more Hanukkah rom-coms. It was great to buddy read this with my friend Louis, too—he’s the best to discuss books with!!

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