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Rachel's Secret (The Rachel Trilogy #1)
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Rachel's Secret ( The Rachel Trilogy #1)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  140 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Rachel, a Jew, and Sergei, a Christian, find their worlds torn apart by violence in pre-revolutionary Russia...

Rachel is a Jew living in Kishinev, Russia. At fourteen, Rachel knows that she wants more from life than the traditional role of wife and mother. She has dreams of being a writer. But everything is put on hold when a young Christian man is murdered and Rachel is f
Paperback, 241 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Second Story Press
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I don’t even know where to start in describing the importance and emotional impact of “Rachel’s Secret.”

The most important aspect, to me, is that it fills a crucial gap in the historical fiction genre available to middle readers. Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, it explores the divide between Christians and Jews. Many unfamiliar words and sayings are introduced and explained in a way which feels natural to the flow of the story. The history is not limited to the Jews and life for all people in R
Elizabeth Holtsclaw
Apr 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I don't generally do reviews but since I got this as an advanced reader though a giveaway I thought the least I could do was share some thoughts about it.

This book was a very fast and engaging read, although it deals with a very emotionally charged slice of history. This is tough stuff.

My favorite genre is historical fiction and I have a deep interest in Jewish history. This book very much meet my reading needs. As someone who has studied history; European history and Jewish history this book p
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review.

Rachel, a teenage Jew lives in Russia at the start of the 20th Century. After witnessing her Christian friend’s murder, she decides to keep it a secret to keep her family from harm. After the Jewish community is blamed for her friend’s death, tensions mount and an all out hate war explodes.

What I found the most remarkable about Rachel’s Secret is that this book is based on real-life events. Truth be told, I was a little shaken after readin
Lozzi Counsell
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this in one day - I loved it that much! I love a writer who can write about things that other writers dare not touch such as the events in this book. There is only ONE fault I can give this book, which is too many characters - I think it was too short to include as many people as it did, as I got very confused most likely due to my lack of knowledge of most of the names used due to living in England.
For Rachel, the village of Kishinev in Russia is not big enough to hold her dreams. While her friends are thinking of romance and marriage, she's more interested in reading and writing. Now Rachel's friend Mikhail is also thinking of romance - with her! She likes Mikhail as a friend but not as a lover and besides, Jews and gentiles can't be together. When Rachel witnesses Mikhail's murder, she believes it was all her fault because someone saw him kiss her. She keeps her secret to herself. Mikhai ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it

Such a good and emotional read. Just can't believe it was based on true events. I can't believe people were actually treated like that because of their religion! Recommend this book to everyone even though it's tough to read, it really opens your eyes.

a full review will be up on my blog on Monday the 16th
Tiffany Lindsay
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really love this book. I wasn't sure about it when I borrowed it at the library but as I started reading and got deeper into it it was hard to put down. I recommend it to anyone who likes history and likes to read more of a story instead of lots of facts thrown at you. And the author uses real events and many real people as her characters.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A young adult book, this is a fictionalized account of the 1903 programs in Russia. The author uses some of the real characters involved. The level of violence is not minimalized but also not gruesomely depicted. This is the first of a trilogy about a young Jewish girl and her family. Highly recommended for middle school and early high school.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: canadian, ya
Reviewed this for Quill & Quire. While I think the novel did a solid job at humanizing the events of the Kishinev pogrom through the character of Rachel, I found the writing to be extremely overwrought and was disappointed at how that really took away from the overall impact of the book.
Alexandra Bayer
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Rachel is a Jew living in Kishinev, Russia, in the winter of 1903. Rachel knows she's no different from the Christians; unfortunately, the Christians don't believe the same. After the murder of Rachel's best friend, Mikhail, the Christian community blames the killing on the Jews. Rachel knows what really happened - but giving away her secret may end up hurting more people than helping. As the Christians strike out against the Jewish people of Kishinev, Rachel finds a friend in Sergei, a Christi ...more
Oct 02, 2016 marked it as to-read
This book is a story about an Amish family living in Ohio in 1855. It addresses the challenges they face due to their traditions and beliefs. They struggle with what would be God's will when they are faced with caring for an injured outsider. The book ends keeping you wondering about what happens next. It is part of a series and I may need to read the next book.
This was one of my book club reads and very easy to read.
A promising start to this trilogy, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. YA novels are sometimes a toss-up; they can be shockingly awesome or heaping piles of stinky stuff. It all depends on which part of the YA audience the author is targeting, I think, and how much effort goes into telling a truly great story. This one falls on the awesome side.

First off, I was surprised by how much the author DIDN’T shy away from the tragedy, drama, suspense, and horror that revolve around the early 20th
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, first-reads
Rachel's Secret by Shelly Sanders is a fictionalized account of a real event in Kishinev, Russia in 1903.

This book started off with a group enjoying the day ice skating on the River Byrk. It was customary for the Christians and Jewish to not mix socially but this day they all having fun on the ice.

Mikhail Rybachenko had a crush on Rachel, a Jew, who lives in Kishinev. Mikhail didn’t want to work at the family factory like his grandfather wanted, he wanted to he wanted to choose his own life. He
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Originally posted at: A Girl that Likes Books

I got this book through a LybraryThing Giveaway. When I first asked for it I thought it was going to be mostly a love story under a lot of pressure. I was wrong.

First of all, I had no idea that it was based/inspired in a real character, in this case Sander's grandmother. This explains all the details in this book. I love romanticised history and in this case the author had the "advantage" of having the details from a person who was actually there, a
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Novel received from giveaway

"Rachel's Secret" is historically accurate and presently relevant. As Rachel, a Jewish teen, is enjoying growing up in her town, she witnesses the murder of her friend Mikhail. Because she is Jewish, she knows that she cannot report the murders to the police because she will not be believed. Rachel must come to terms with the knowledge she has of the murders as the newspaper begins to blame the Jews for the murder of the boy. As Rachel lives through the
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Rachel is a Jewish girl living in Russia in 1903. When her Christian friend Mikhail is killed, there's an uproar in the community, with many of Christians claiming that the Jews were responsible for the murder in order to use the blood in their rituals. Rachel, who actually saw the murder and knows who is guilty, is terrified that if she comes forward, she and her family will all be at risk. As anti-Jewish sentiments ran wild in their city, Rachel forms an unlikely friendship with Sergei, a Chri ...more
Pamela Hubbard
Rachel is a young Jewish girl living in 1903 Russia. Relations between the Christians and the Jews are tenuous, and when a young Christian man is murdered, rumours abound and fingers are pointed at the Jews. Emotions escalate into tragedy when riots break out and a whole part of the community is left homeless and some orphaned. Rachel is caught up in the middle of the drama because she witnesses the murder but is afraid to come forward. She also dreams of being a writer, but is appalled at all t ...more
Jenni Noordhoek
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I was just sitting at the library & saw this on the new YA shelf - took me about half an hour's light reading to finish, though I moved fairly quickly.

The historical part was pretty much why I read it. The characters were okay but nothing really attached me to them. I really just wanted to know about this pogrom as it's a chapter of history I know little about.

The writing looks like it's a debut novel. Author definitely could go places - solid grammar and style - but characters could be mo
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. In this skillful blending of real events, both on the world front (the murder of a Christian boy leads to catastrophic riots against the Jewish population of Kishinev, Russia) and her grandmother's personal life history (how she fled to the safety of Shanghai), Shelley Sanders has a winner! It is a story so captivating, that I had to learn more about these real historical events. In the process I learned about a country, I never knew existed. Kishine ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it

I won an advanced readers copy of this young adult novel from goodreads. The book is based on actual events in a Russian town in 1903 where the murder of a teenaged boy and misinformation and lies published in the newspaper led to a riot where peasants vandalize hundreds of properties, kill 50+ Jews, and injure hundreds more.

The book was told from the perspective of a 14 year old Jewish girl named Rachel and the 14 year old Christian son of the police chief. These two characters help make this
(I received this book through Goodreads first read giveaways.)

Rachel, a Jewish teen from Russia in the 1900s, witnesses the death of a friend by a police officer. Unable to turn to the police for assistance, she confides in another friend, Sergei. Sergei seeks a way to help Rachel deal with the murder and with the way Christian Russians are treating Jews at this time period.

The book is set in a delicate time period and covers a serious issue. I enjoyed reading it and continue to be appalled that
Naomi Blackburn
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Although, in general, I felt the writing of this book was above good, but not excellent, for being targeted as adult literature, I thought it was much more targeted to a YA or even Juvenile audience. I found myself periodically bored by the story because of the "language" style.

Had I gone into it with this perspective rather than pulling it out of the adult section of my library, it probably would have been a 3-3.5 star read.
Jamie Stanley
I won this book in a firstreads giveaway. I read this book in a day and enjoyed every word. Rachel is a Jewess who lives in Russia in the early 1900s. She witnesses a murder off a friend who is a non Jew. She is scared to to tell anyone for fear of her families safety. The entire town blames the Jewish community and starts terrorizing them to the point of murder. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history,
Dianne Kaucharik
Aug 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: russia
This is a very quick, easy-to-read fiction about a heart-wrenching historical event - the 1903 Kishinev Massacre of Jews in Russia. The writing suggests the book is targeted for a "young adult" audience. In spite of that, I am intrigued with the story to want to continue with the 2nd and 3rd books in the "Rachel trilogy".
Zach Sparks
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads-wins
I enjoyed this book very much. The characters were well developed and sympathetic. Knowing it was based on a true event made it very poignant. I also enjoyed learning more about Jewish traditions and beliefs. I would highly recommend this book.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A nice blend of historical fiction, mystery and suspense. The story manages to educate while keeping the reader engaged. It never fails to amaze me-the horrible things people will do to their fellow man. For anyone not familiar with the pogroms, this will be an eye-opener.
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I just reviewed this for Jewish Book World . . . very compelling and highly readable. For grades 5-8, especially readers who liked Puppet by Eva Wiseman and The Night of the Burning by Linda Press Wulf.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
A Holocaust book (Russia) - I thought this was very well written. Kind of brutal but excellent.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: just-dont-like
Though I was hopeful about this book considering the historical setting, it struck me as too morbid, too teen, and too depressing. Couldn't finish it.
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
An easy read but not an easy topic! Really heartbreaking, brutal, fascinating... loved it and learned a lot.
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After twenty years as a journalist for Canadian national magazines and newspapers, Shelly Sanders began writing her first novel, Rachel's Secret. Published by Second Story Press in 2012, this historical fiction book begins in 1903 Russia, where propaganda leads to a three-day massacre against the Jewish community. Inspired by her grandmother's survival of a pogrom (massacre) in Russia, Shelly went ...more
More about Shelly Sanders...

Other Books in the Series

The Rachel Trilogy (3 books)
  • Rachel's Promise  (The Rachel Trilogy #2)
  • Rachel's Hope