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The Matzah Ball  By  cover art

The Matzah Ball

By: Jean Meltzer
Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
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Publisher's Summary

A Most Anticipated Book selected by * PopSugar * Bustle * Buzzfeed * Bookpage * Goodreads Members

"The Matzah Ball had me laughing out loud...an all-around terrific read." (Debbie Macomber, number one New York Times best-selling author)

Oy! to the world

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: She loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a best seller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy - Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah - and Jacob - in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

"A luminous celebration of all types of love, threaded with the message that everyone is worthy of it.” (Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of The Ex Talk)

©2021 Jean Meltzer (P)2021 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

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What listeners say about The Matzah Ball

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very relatable for chronic illness

See my full review on Ana's Attic Book Blog.

Likes:

•Very relatable character: a Jew from Long Island who loves Christmas, went to sleep away camp, and has a chronic invisible illness.
•I learned a little about Judaism.
•It’s about time we have a m/f Hanukkah romance.
•Her descriptions of her illness and why she hides it were so spot-on!
•Jacob’s grandmother was my favorite character.

Dislikes:

•It was very Jewish for me. But I do think it needs to be so it can appeal to all Jews.
•It was 3rd person.
•The fact that these two can’t get over stuff that happened when they were 12– at almost 30 years old.
•There was a “joke” about being an assassin that honestly I didn’t even get, but apparently REALLY upset Palestinians.
•I didn’t really see where the love developed. It was instalove from childhood memories.
•Shmool (I have no idea how it is spelled) is portrayed like a 50-year-old short, nerdy, balding guy. This guy is a leading event planner for the hottest events in the world? And his name? REALLY? He’s 29!
•Of course, there is a gay best friend. (I don’t mind gay at all, but this is just so typical). Also, this friend did something really terrible and saw no consequences at all.
•There was no intimacy or sexual attraction at all? Like, how can they be in love if they haven’t even been intimate?

The Narration:

Dara Rosenberg was perfect as the narrator. There were a lot of Jewish (Hebrew) and Yiddish words, but she was perfect and really brought the story to life.

The Down & Dirty:

Overall, I really enjoyed The Matzah Ball. At first, I almost DNFd, because it was 3rd person and just a little too Jewish for me, but as the story unfolded I really began to get into it. My favorite thing is how relatable the heroine is. As a debut novel, I think Jean Meltzer did a fabulous job, and I hope to read more mainstream romance novels that feature Jewish characters from her.

2 people found this helpful

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Fun with Pearl's of wisdom about love and MECFS!

Fun easy read love story. A respite from crazy covid life. Author exemplifies MECFS well, a rarity, and more books need to be written about ME and life with illness. Sadly many with ME are more gravely disabled, and in real life people aren't so accepting, but hope that will change. Refreshing to have Judaism portrayed positively.

2 people found this helpful

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wonderful holiday romance

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story. The two main characters met as teens at a summer camp, and did not leave that experience on good terms. However, over a decade later their paths cross once again. This story follows them as they begin to find their own “truths” with the support of friends and family. Both characters are endearing and relatable. Also, the supporting characters are absolutely wonderful and entertaining. This story is the epitome of a rom-com set in the holiday season - I definitely laughed out loud at several parts.

The story is lightly laced with Yiddish words and centered around Hanukkah. The author does a great job of explaining what various words mean, so even those without a Jewish background can easily understand and follow the story.

The narrator did a great job as well! Definitely worth a credit if you want a feel-good romance.

2 people found this helpful

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Thank you

Thank you for a real story with Jewish characters, it was mostly perfect, just wish the narrator could say “Chas v’haleelah” correctly! Otherwise, I am just grateful for something that spoke to Jewish tradition and one idea of what it feels like to be a religious minority in December.

1 person found this helpful

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Adorable

Great story. I loved all the Yiddish that was sprinkled in and out. The whole CFS/ME was also great as I think there needs to be more awareness of hidden diseases.

1 person found this helpful

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Nice Holiday Read

Finally a story that reflects a touch of reality even if it hosts the usual wealth. I've read it three times... well. listened!

1 person found this helpful

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terrific stpryline

Very entertaining! A joy to listen to. If I were reading it, instead of listening, it would have been a page turner.

1 person found this helpful

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My new favorite Christmas book is about.. Hannuka?

I absolutely adored this book! I'm not Jewish, not religious at all, but I loved learning more about the holiday and Shabbat, and some new Yiddish words. Yes, I had to Google a few terms here and there, but that was part of the fun! Thank you for giving me a deeper understanding of so many wonderful traditions 🥰

1 person found this helpful

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A hanukkah story to remember

It has been such a privilege to spend my December listening to this story! The lovestory is equally sweet and frustrating. But my favourite part, (possible spoiler alert) is the way the author lifts the issue of chronic illness that aren't seen but suffered through in silence everyday. With some of my own friends having the same issues with chronic illness, this book found a special place in my heart and on my (virtual & physical) bookshelf.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating and exciting

This is an amazing book! I loved learning about all the different cultural Jewish things. I loved that it was different from the norm, and the characters were great. As someone with a disability, I really appreciated the heroine and the way she didn’t let her situation stand in her way.

1 person found this helpful