The daughter of a Torah scholar in eighteenth-century Ukraine, Gittel has always accepted her place in a family steeped in religion. Married at age twelve to a cold and reclusive rabbi, the young bride gives birth to two sons destined to follow their father’s path. Finding very little comfort in family life, Gittel shares her dreams, visions, and a close spiritual understanding with her only confidant: her father-in-law, the Maggid of Mezeritch.
When Gittel loses those close to her one by one, she decides to leave her old life behind, including her sons, to set out on a lonesome and perilous journey to Jerusalem. Will she sacrifice everything in pursuit of the dream of her youth?~Goodreads Blurb
Sometimes writing a review is harder than reading the book and simply talking about the book. This is one of those books that really refuses to be pigeon-holed. At only 107 pages, I had expected to be able to rip through it and bang out a review in one night. Instead it has taken me a good two weeks and I’m still not sure that I’ll be doing a great enough service to this book. It has a strange twisting ability to sneak into your head and cause you to slow down.
With many religious and inspirational stories, when a character describes a vision there is almost a 2D filter that falls over it to make it simple and plain to the reader. Author Smadar Herzfeld steps away from that common method. Her descriptions of the visions and the spiritual struggles of main character Gittel reads almost like a fever dream that the reader has been sucked into to experience it along with her. That combined with the forward and back flipping through time and place can leave the reader confused momentarily. This begs the reader to pause and absorb what Herzfeld is saying and perhaps to read it again. As previously stated it is rather short, and it can be read in an evening but to understand the story it may take longer than that. A well written story with a strong female character who puts aside her entire life to do what she feels called to do, Trail of Miracles is well worth the time.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and AmazonCrossing in exchange for honest feedback.*
Born in in Tel Aviv, Smadar Herzfeld initially came to Jerusalem to work with underprivileged children. She is the founder of 62, a boutique publishing house that specializes in books on women and religion. Herzfeld, who writes about characters with strong spiritual and religious beliefs, has penned four novels and a book of poetry. Her novel God Isn’t Me won the Jerusalem Foundation Award. The mother of two adopted sons from Vietnam, Herzfeld lives in Jerusalem. Learn more at www.publishers62.co.il.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer