Flurry and panic of an imminent double wedding at the Bennet household is apparent in this mid-themed Pride & Prejudice variation. While the Bennet family, Mr Charles Bingley, and Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy provide a familial feel to this novel, Rabbi Meyerson and his family bring to light a Jewish community within Meryton. Mrs Bennet and her daughters unfamiliar with the Jewish faith are as intrigued as they are baffled by it. With alacrity Miss Mary Bennet embraces the mayhem all around (rather pleased her many seeming faults are less noticeable). In the meanwhile, Mr Bennet discovers he and the Rabbi have a deal in common. Their covert observations, however, are not without risk. Unfortunately the pickle the two elders fall into requires an intrepid hero. Mr Darcy is therefore the man of the moment, and Mr Wickham is involved in the dark mix. The novel has amusing asides and a literary touch to the prose. For the uninitiated there is a great deal of enlightenment to the Jewish faith in all its facets, and the Jane Austen Readers’ Award is hereby granted to Mirta Ines Trupp for The Meyersons of Meryton.
The narrative, the dialogue, and the characters in Destiny by Design~ Leah’s Journey bring to life the emotions of a family in jeopardy amidst impending persecution in late 19th and early 20th century Russia. The strength to close a door on one life and start anew in Buenos Aires for the Abramovitz family is as heartbreaking as it is daunting. I heartily recommend this delightful and engrossing family novel for the Historical Readers’ Award. Not only is the story steeped in historical facts and the Jewish faith, it radiates love of family across the generations. It is as educational as it is entertaining, which is the last important factor for any award winning novel in my humble opinion.