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The Wayward Moon

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  25 reviews
"Set in the year 854, in a town called Sura (in modern day Iraq), Rahel, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, is handed an incredible burden. Instead of preparing to meet her fiancé for the first time, she will have to flee, leaving behind her intended, her home, possessions, and her identity. An enemy of her father has burst into her house and killed her father. Rahel has had to ki ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Yotzeret Publishing
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Kathryn Jacobi
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Janice Weizman's historical novel about Rahel, A Jewish girl fighting for her life and her integrity in ancient Babylonia, is a gem. The care Weizman has taken in her research of the period sweeps the reader along with Rahel on her often frightening, yet inspiriting journey of survival and self-discovery. The characters, particularly Rahel herself, are real and full of emotion, yet this dramatic story never slips into melodrama. I recommend The Wayward Moon highly to anyone who likes historical ...more
Sheyna Galyan
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: published
I've read this book at least a dozen times, seen it go through many incarnations, and I'm still captivated by the story. Absolutely a must-read! ...more
Jun 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish-fiction
This book made me contemplate things a little more than I thought I would at the beginning, so that’s something.

For all of its unusual setting (9th century Babylon, aka current day Iraq and surrounding environs) there’s something sort of same-same about the narrative. It’s a bildungsroman for a young Jewish woman, but it’s tinged with modern sensibilities. At least Weizman owns up to it.

Rahel was born to a prosperous Jewish physician, living a life of luxury in the town, Sura. There was some up
Waheed Rabbani
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
In 894 AD in Buqei’a, a Jewish village in a remote corner of Galilee, the children of “a humble woman,” Rahel Yar, discover a hidden scroll after her funeral. It’s her memoir written in Syriac, the Christians’ language. While her sons initially want to burn it, they decide to read her heartbreaking life story.

Rahel is born in a magnificent city, Sura, south of Baghdad, during the Golden Age of Islam. Her widower father, an erudite physician, waits for Rahel to turn seventeen before finding a gro
Marlene Chabot
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Janice Weizman writes a terrific historical fiction novel. She's an exceptional writer. She covers so much historical information brilliantly. A novel that draws you in and keeps you reading. The story starts off in Galilee, the year 894 A.D. at the funeral services for a Jewish woman known as Rahel Bat Yair. While cleaning out Rahel's home, a son of her's stumbles upon pages and pages of writing that pertain to the life of his mother. It's a life totally different from the one he was led to be ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved the idea of how this book plays out, which I won't give away specifics about, except to say that when you think you know someone it might not be the whole truth of her life and experiences.

This follows the story of a Jewish girl in 854 Bagdad and includes Rahel's pondering differences between what she believes about her faith compared to what she finds muslims and christians believe as she survives the adventures of her life which play out following a murder. AND gives HER a view of what t
Yosef Gotlieb
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In her depiction of the life of a young, ninth century Jewish woman attempting to navigate the perils of the religiously and communally fractious Middle East of that time, Janice Weizman succeeds in richly describing a period and an individual. Rahel's solitary journey speaks to timeless issues: claiming one's place as an individual, as a woman and as a member of a vulnerable minority under harsh circumstances and uncompromising social strictures. The importance of learning to trust and be true ...more
Janice Gaines
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book utterly surprised me. We here in Netanya, Israel, heard Janice Weizman at a panel of English writers in Israel, and after her presentation several of us purchased the book, not knowing anything about Mrs. Weizman. Four of us read the book at the same time, comparing notes, and we all loved it!!We felt we had found a real treasure in a historical novel that brought so much light to an era we knew nothing about. We are looking forward to Janice Weizman's next book and in the meantime, we ...more
Joanna Chen
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Wayward Moon is a wonderful, racy, thoughtful book set in ninth century Babylonia. Centered around a young woman who is forced to battle the society that she lives in, Janice Weizman's measured prose is a pleasure to read. ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Omg a other amazing read I loved the story and Characters and it was a really good historical fiction book and the story is set in the golden age of Islam and there was also loads of action in the story but I really enjoyed it AMAZING BOOK :)
Shira Reiss
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book! Couldn't put it down! I love historical novels that allow the reader to enter an ancient world filled with sites and sounds, traditions and customs that I did not know about. The characters were engaging. Beautiful descriptive language. ...more
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A rich, gorgeous book. The period details are phenomenal, but the greatest strength of this novel, which is structured as a traditional coming-of-age story, is in showing how for young girls in certain societies, "coming of age" is ultimately a tragic outcome. ...more
Judih Weinstein Haggai
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story. Should be made into a movie
Ann Cooper
Reading this book and loving it!
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!!!
Vanessa Ehrlich
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish
Great for a book group, I think there will be a lot to discuss.
Abigail Caplan
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
In her debut novel Janice transports the reader to the 9th Century Islamic world as seen through the eyes of a young Jewish girl. In this page turner of a book we not only live the adventures of the protagonist but also see her character develop through these experiences to a mature , thoughtful and reflective young woman. The plot has many unexpected twists and turns always compelling us to read on and all our senses are evoked as this ancient world is brought beautifully to life. Her use of la ...more
Eli Jacobs
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I very rarely read historical fiction. I don't get into it. Wayward Moon was first and foremost great fiction - a great story with characters I cared about deeply. And the "historical" was a bonus because it was interesting and I learned a few things along the way.
What struck me most was that the author created a voice, almost a dialect for the way she imagined people spoke more than a thousand years ago; and the voice felt so authentic to me. It was a significant portal into
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found Rahel a completely sympathetic and believable character, even as the things happening to her were so unexpected -- for someone of her background. But the story makes it clear how tenuous women's lives are and how few options women actually had once. The Muslim world of that day was presented very well -- the text wears its research lightly. I felt and heard that period, that world, the home, the street.... and I really liked the title which I only understood at the end...… after Rabbi Na ...more
S Friedman
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Within its first few magical words I fell into "The Wayward Moon" and the lovely trance-state one experiences from a wonderful read. Still, even now, days after I've finished this book, I find myself remembering the protagonist and the strong emotions and fascinating situations she experienced. The plot is remarkable in several ways: kind of a hybrid fairy tale featuring a plucky orphaned heroine mixed with fascinating details of historical fiction related in a very respectful way re: Islamic, C ...more
I have been trying to find a book that takes place in this location and time period and finally! It wasn't bad either. ...more
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Rahel, a 17-year-old Jewish girl living in the ninth century in Sura, in what was then Babylonia (Bavel), is about to be happily married off to a prominent scholar. But suddenly everything changes when her father, a popular physician, becomes the enemy of a powerful antisemite Abu Said.

And so begins The Wayward Moon (Yotzeret Publishing), the debut novel by Janice Weizman, a Toronto-born writer who now lives in Israel.

When Said kills her father, Rahel, whose mother died in childbirth, is forced
Year 800s in the Euphrates basin -- early Islam, Jewish medicine, and a girl who cross dresses. Rather teachable for the comparative religion aspect of things (she lives in a monastery, reads Antigone in greek) but also hokey and romance-y. Same vein as Maggie Anton's Rav Hisda's Daughter. ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
It was a very interesting book set in a time frame I'm not very familiar with. I would recommend it to people who enjoy historical fiction. ...more
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Please note: Sorry to say that The Wayward Moon is now officially out of print, as the publisher, Yotzeret Publishing, is no longer in bushiness. Print editions are still available for sale through online book sellers.

The Wayward Moon is Janice Weizman's first novel. It was the recipient of a Gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards, and won first place for Historical Fiction in the

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