faeriemyst's Reviews > The Fruit of Her Hands: The Story of Shira of Ashkenaz

The Fruit of Her Hands by Michelle Cameron
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Oct 13, 09

bookshelves: historical-fiction, amazon-vine, historical-fiction-13th-century
Read in October, 2009 — I own a copy

I'm having a remarkably hard time gathering up my thoughts to review THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS. The book is a mixed bag as far as I'm concerned.

Overall, the book was informative and easy entertainment, but it lacked depth. For the most part the characters were either good or bad, with no shades of grey, which made them unrealistic and led to my feeling of detachment. Shira was a sympathetic and capable main character during the first third of the book and looked to be an interesting Medieval wife. Unfortunately, after she became married, she lost her personality. I realize that it was an accurate portrayal of Jewish wives back then, but Shira had been scholarly, while still seeing to her duties, up until this point and then turned into a boring protagonist. What set her apart and made me want to read about her was her attitude about learning the Talmud like the men. What interested Meir in the first place was Shira, who he thought unusual; not that I was shown their love, I was just told about it. The chemistry was lacking between them, but that may be in part that I didn't get a good sense of who Meir was as a person, other than he was brilliant, a revered scholar, et cetera. No one felt real in this book and that's a shame.

What was perhaps done best were the details and information about the Jewish people and their faith. Generally, it was written into the story quite well, even if Shira was conveniently placed right in the way of big events. I learned much and am grateful for the history of that time. My one problem with it was that although I felt the pain and suffering the Jewish endured, it was just a little too clean. More realism and grit would have added much to the book.

Perhaps the scope of the book did a disservice to the story as a whole, and it might have benefited a few scenes taken out. As a whole, it's a decent book and a good debut, but it still lacks that something that makes me what to say "read it".
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Reading Progress

10/03/2009 page 104
23.21%
10/09/2009 page 204
45.54% "Interesting, but slow going due to me not being in the right mood."
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