3 out of 4 stars
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Jewish friends Naomi, Miriam, and Becky are inseparable. For nearly three decades, they have shared love, laughter, and secrets. Naomi is trying to come to terms with the pain her ex-husband caused when he left her for another man. Miriam is an only child, and after the death of her parents, she looks to Becky and Naomi for support. Becky is devastated when she finds out her only son is marrying a non-Jew and makes it her mission to stop the wedding.
Aaron Brenner, an old flame of Naomi’s, unexpectantly moves back into town and turns her life upside down. Despite her attempts to ignore his advances, she cannot deny that his presence makes her heart flutter. Meanwhile, Becky discovers a secret that’s been hidden from her for years and believes that Miriam is at the center of it all. Will the truth destroy their friendship or will Becky find it in her heart to forgive Miriam?
The Kiddush Ladies by Susan Sofayov, examines family, relationships, and the shattering effects that deception can have on a friendship. Sometimes even the strongest bonds are broken when they are stretched to their limits. In the story, the author narrates the inner feelings of each woman by providing three different perspectives. Becky’s anger was all-encompassing, affecting every aspect of her life. Miriam sought forgiveness and acceptance from Becky, and Naomi seemed to be the middleman, trying to keep the peace. It was clear that each one of these women played a different role in the trio.
I could relate to the struggle Naomi’s character faced when dealing with the feud between Becky and Miriam. The majority of the book was written from her perspective, and it was clear she was crumbling under pressure. I think the author did an excellent job of capturing the frustration that Naomi felt when all her attempts to keep the friendship intact had failed.
I like that the author addresses mental illness, in particular, the catastrophic effects that it can have on relationships. It was evident that Becky’s anger at Miriam stemmed from bigger issues, and everyone in their tight-knit community began to take notice. It is essential in any relationship to be able to identify when a friend or loved one needs help.
While the first half of The Kiddush Ladies held my interest, the second half felt drawn out. The author had sufficient time to provide a solution to the issues that the characters were facing, but the conflict seemed to go in circles. I often found myself saying, “Get to the point!”
The ending was my least favorite part of the book, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. I don’t understand why it needed to end that way, but I was thoroughly disappointed. I think readers looking for closure may be disappointed by the ending.
I chose to give The Kiddush Ladies a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I deducted a star for some grammatical errors and the unfortunate ending. I would recommend this book to middle-aged Jewish women who like stories about friendship and family feuds. I also think The Kiddush Ladies would be a fantastic choice for book club discussions because it is a character-driven book. I would not recommend this book to younger readers as it contains some violent graphic content.
The Kiddush Ladies
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