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Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
The Seduction of Esther
by Jennifer Wilck
Samara Goldberg has a problem even the most beautiful singing voice can’t fix. She’s a walking disaster, especially when she’s around handsome men. To make matters worse, she’s in desperate need of someone to play the character of Mordecai for the Purim spiel she’s producing and the new congregant, Nathaniel Abramson, is a perfect fit. Nathaniel is a divorced dad who’s recovering from the biggest public scandal of his life. The last thing he needs is a relationship with the choir director at his new synagogue, who also happens to be playing the lead female role of Esther in the very play he’s been coerced into joining.
Woven around the Jewish holiday of Purim, The Seduction of Esther is a story of two people whose lives mirror the plot of the Purim story. Like Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity from the King of Persia, Samara and Nathaniel are hiding key pieces of themselves. Evil Haman wanted to destroy the Jews, and the nasty Josh will do anything to keep Samara and Nathaniel apart. Will their love survive, like the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, or will their fear keep them apart?
She leaned toward him and pointed to a crumb on his cheek. She brushed it away and his heart slammed against his chest. He could kiss her right here. Right here, in front of all these people.
What the hell had he been thinking? There were people here. Lots of them, and most of them were looking at him. As if a bucket of cold water had tipped over his head, his desire died and he leaned back against the chair.
Samara shifted. “Josh, do you think you could go with me next Sunday to look for set decorations and costumes?”
Way to go. Here I am thinking about kissing her, and she’s thinking about Josh. Despite his discomfort over the thought of a public scene, disappointment rose like bile in the back of his throat and he swallowed.
“Sorry, Samara, but I have a meeting. How about another day?”
“I can go.” Nathaniel heard the words come out of his mouth as if from a distance. What kind of an idiot am I?
“Really? That would be great. I need to get started on the set and I could use another pair of eyes. Josh, don’t worry about it, Nathaniel and I will take care of it.”
Josh’s glare should have made Nathaniel uncomfortable. It should have made his skin crawl. It should have made him back out to avoid everyone’s attention now focused on him, to come up with some kind of excuse. It should have warned him. But it just made him smile.
*disclaimer from Harlie…I grew up in Dallas, TX. In high school, half of the girls on our drill team were Jewish. My brother’s best friend was Jewish. Shoot he went to temple and church. And my cousin (male) married a very nice Jewish girl from Chicago. I had completely forgotten about the Purim celebration. Thank you Ms. Wilck for the reminder.*
So now that you’ve read Harlie’s disclaimer, let’s get on with the review. Between the scenes at the temple, hanging out a Kosher deli, the older ladies trying to play matchmaker (which is real in the Jewish culture) and the Shabbat dinner at Samara’s house, I felt like I was hanging out the Prager’s. Yes, they are my Jewish “family” in Dallas and the book made me miss them.
Samara was the typical klutz but also very likeable and realistic as a heroine. Working at her temple full time and getting flustered every time she came across a good looking man, she was real. Believe me, I’m a old married woman and I still get flustered when I’m around a good looking man. 😉 Also, liked the fact that realized early on that Nathaniel made her NOT be so klutzy. He had a calming influence on her.
Nathaniel had a lot to deal with. A public scandal that ended his marriage, a 7 yr old daughter to raise and then the ex decides she wants to play mommy again. His attraction to Samara was not good at all. Unfortunately for him, the gods had other plans for him when it came to Samara.
These two were sweet together. They completed each other in ways that they didn’t even know they needed. Nathaniel’s daughter was also a breath of fresh air. Not bratty, too cutesy but necessary with Nathaniel’s growth in the book and his relationship with Samara.
If there was a villain in the story, Ms. Wilck gave Josh the fortitude in the end to realize what he done not only to Samara and Nathaniel but also to himself. I knew he was swarmy in the beginning but the book’s end, I really wanted him to find love, too.
Again, the settings and locales were great. I’ve been to NYC and can picture everything that Ms. Wilck described in the book. Of course, now I need to go the Jewish deli in Dallas next month. 🙂 Ms. Wilck’s secondary characters were also good and enhanced the story along the way. Never intrusive and demanding of their own time. Okay maybe Josh and Miriam in the end… hint, hint.
Don’t pass up a great story about two people that didn’t know they needed each other to learn to truly love someone. You also might crave a good Jewish deli in the process. 🙂
When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I’ve gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.
In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.
I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. I tweet at @JWilck, my blog (Fried Oreos) is www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts at www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com.
My books can be purchased through Rebel Ink Press http://rebelinkpress.com/our-titles.html,
Whiskey Creek Press www.whiskeycreekpress.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.