Friday, 18 May 2018

Jerusalem Stone by Susan Sofayov

On September 15, 2008, Julie Wasserman’s life collapsed. In the morning, she lost her job at Lehman Brothers. That afternoon, she lost her twin brother, Jack, in a car crash. 

A year and a half later, she returns home to Pittsburgh to start a new job and live up to a pledge to visit her brother’s grave every day. With six weeks to wait before the start of the new job, she steps out of character and purchases a plane ticket to Thailand, the one place her brother dreamed of visiting.


She arrives in Thailand, focused on trying to figure out how she is going to live in the world without her twin brother and best friend. But an interruption in the form of a sexy Israeli, Avi, distracts her from this goal. As he tries to make her see that their meeting was beshert, meant to be, she insists that she must return home to live up to her promise to Jack.


Feeling responsible for Jack’s death, Julie believes that he wouldn’t want her to be happy, but would expect her to mourn for the rest of her life. Can Avi find a way to convince her they are bashert and Jack wouldn’t want her to stop living, or is Julie doomed to a life of guilt and unhappiness unless a higher power steps in?


With the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle taking place tomorrow I fancied a bit of romance in my reading. Jerusalem Stone falls perfectly into that category and overall was a good read.


The thing I really liked about this book was the atmospheric descriptions of place. The story takes place in Thailand and Israel, neither places I have been fortunate enough to visit as yet, but I certainly want to now. Ms. Soayov's evocation of the travels of the two characters are extremely well done and she brought the places to life upon the page. The heat, smells and noises were palpable. In fact, the title takes it's name from the type of stone used on the buildings in Jerusalem and her descriptions were so elegantly drawn that I almost felt as though I was there.


If I am honest, it took me a little while to engage with the main characters in this book. Avi seemed too good to be true and Julie was so emotional that I could not imagine than any man would not run a mile when confronted by her tears on virtually every occasion that they met. Of course, she has been through some very difficult times and, therefore, it was not surprising that tears were always just below the surface. However, I think that was exactly the point that the author was trying to make. Avi is not an average man but someone whose understanding of Julie's pain was indeed quite remarkable.


Their relationship was about far more than two like-minded people meeting and falling in love whilst on holiday. Rather, there was something spiritual in their meeting and their love for one another was not confined to earthly reasoning but was determined by a higher power. Whilst the characters in this book are Jewish it is not a religious story. Whether you call it  destiny, fate or God it is about a kind of love that was meant to be.


Without giving anything away I loved the way this story was wrapped up so neatly at the end. I dare not say more as I would hate to spoil your enjoyment of this very satisfying story.


ISBN: 978 16269448556

Publisher: Black Opal Books



About the Author:


Susan Sofayov is a Pittsburgh based writer. She’s married to a wonderful, but completely unsupportive husband who feels she should focus less on writing and more time on her “real job” running the family real estate management company. She has three out-of-the-nest children and an aging small white dog.
She has a BA in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Teaching from Chatham University.
Her debut novel Defective chronicles a young woman’s battle to live an ordinary life while struggling with undiagnosed bipolar 2 disorder. Her second novel, The Kiddush Ladies explores friendship, forgiveness and self-destruction. It was released by Black Opal Books in December 2016. Her newest work, Jerusalem Stone was released on January 27, 2018.  It takes the reader from Thailand to Israel while focusing issues such as grief, survivor guilt, love and accepting a higher power.
She loves meeting new people by attending book group meetings. Offer her a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and she’ll be happy to talk about her books with your Pittsburgh area group. If your group is outside of Pittsburgh, she’ll pour her own cup of coffee and meet you via Skype. You can reach her at susan.sofayov@gmail.com
Finally, Susan suffers from an acute fear of commas and is dependent on a cadre of writing friends to help her put them in their proper place. None of those friends previewed this blog—forgive the comma errors.

susan.sofayov@gmail.com
Susan kindly gifted me a proof edition of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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