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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,410 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Safekeeping, Jessamyn Hope’s luminous, irreverent, and ambitious first novel, shows how a single item — a medieval brooch made by a Jewish artisan for his wife — connects people across time and history. Full of romance, tragedy, betrayal, and the constant reminder that chaos is a driving force in everyone’s story, Safekeeping is a wise and memorable debut by a novelist of ...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Fig Tree Books
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,410 ratings  ·  305 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The characters in Safekeeping are what linger in my mind....Jewish and non- Jewish. The story centers around an ornamental pin, ( a brooch), passed down through generations and continents....symbolic of 'the people' and 'our stories' ...which live on and on. We pass our treasures...our jewelry....our stories....then 'let go'. They are no longer ours to possess tightly. It's how I made sense of the ending of this story.

The author covers the history of the Holocaust, and the creation of the Kibbu
Angela M
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The past and present are blended here as with so many novels I've read in recent years . The center of the story seems to be an heirloom brooch passed down through centuries, but for me it was not really about the brooch but the people whose lives were touched by it .

A kibbutz in 1994 Israel is the place where the paths of several characters converge . Adam an alcoholic and drug addict is in withdrawal . He is there to find a woman named Dagmar , the woman his grandfather, a holocaust survivor
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bit like All the Light We Cannot See, the plot of this debut novel revolves around a priceless jewel. In this case it’s a medieval sapphire brooch that has been passed down through Adam’s family for centuries. In 1994, after the death of his grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, Adam undertakes a quest to return the brooch to the woman he fell in love with on an Israeli kibbutz and never forgot. Adam has his own problems – he’s a recovering junkie and alcoholic – but he feel he owes this to his g ...more
Erika Dreifus
I am so proud to be part of the team at Fig Tree Books that will introduce this extraordinary novel to readers.
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Five Star Read - Simply precious!

This was the selection for the Jewish Book Club, of which I appear to be the sole monthly reading member. It looked great, so I thought try again. Plus my friend from Westchester was also reading it, and she wrote me to tell me that she loved it and thought I would too. She was right.

I loved everything about this story. 6 (plus) very unusual and compelling characters, each interesting and complex and broken in some way. The story begins in New York, with Adam,
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
DNF. I think that because I am Israeli, and this book is written about Israel for non-Israelis, it is not for me. Also, I did not find myself interested in the plot. I've read too many of these stories, I guess - an old man or woman leaving the protagonist something that would make them have to research their family's past, find an old love, etc. I can see where this is going to lead, and I have no patience for such quests right now. Since I know our people's and country's history inside and out ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
SAFEKEEPING is a gem of a novel – a big, multi-faceted gem. Hope deftly weaves together the stories of six major characters from very different backgrounds. As the novel progresses, the characters’ lives impact each other in unexpected ways, the most ironic of which is seeing their individual dramas played out in an environment, the kibbutz, that is so much about conformity. But like the sapphire broach that is at the heart of the story and propels the action, this story is about the strange, et ...more
Yoav Bergner
This novel is complex and moving. It's not a fluff piece, it's not infantilizing young adult fiction, but rather a real novel for adult readers. It does not play literary games but is told through clean, simple writing. I laughed, I cried, I rooted for characters in spite of disliking them. I gained insights into the human condition. Recommended for fans of W. Somerset Maugham, Tolstoy, and Jennifer Egan.
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did; I have strong opinions on unreliable narrators, nonetheless, Safekeeping won me over - it was probably the dog that did it. The story was interesting and purposeful and there were a few characters I wish I could spend more time with. Beautifully written and highly recommended.

I think Jessamyn Hope could quickly become one of my favorite new authors. *Crossing my fingers she writes a book about Ofir. He is a heartbreaking ch
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The setting of this book is what initially piqued my interest - the majority of the story takes place on an Israeli kibbutz in the 1990s, with well placed and seamless flashbacks. The intricate plot and characters really drew me in as well. It's been a long time since I've really gotten lost in a book. A very satisfying read.
Book Riot Community
To atone for a past crime, Adam, a drug addict from New York City, must give a priceless heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee in Israel fifty years earlier. There, Adam meets other lost souls, and together they try and work out a shot at redemption. Safekeeping is a gorgeous debut, spanning seven centuries, that questions what it means to do, well, anything, if everything is temporary. This is an excellent emotional roller coaster ride.

Tune in to our weekly A
Jonathan Papernick
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Safekeeping is a brilliant, complex, heartrending novel set on a kibbutz in 1994. Hope deftly weaves together multiple storylines with crystalline clear prose that illuminate the darkest hearts of her troubled protagonists. This novel is going to be huge. Highly recommended.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Safekeeping: A Novel, blends a Medieval sapphire brooch with the lives of those living on a kibbutz in Israel, and those who have come to volunteer there. I was engrossed from the first page to the last page.

The story line explores how the old timers-the founders of the kibbutz and their adult children, intermingle with those who are volunteers. The dynamics between the sides are depicted in depth.

I found the novel to be a deep depiction of emotional and mental capacities within the framework of
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a surprise – a finely crafted page turner with heartbreakingly real characters. These characters stuck with me long after I finished reading: Ziva – the tough-minded idealist; Adam – the addict with a guilty conscience; Ulya – the beautiful pragmatist with a heart of ice, and Claudette – the obsessive-compulsive, lost as much in innocence as in her own mind. They are all brought together on a kibbutz for a few months in 1994, where their memories spar and dance with their present world.

May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Safekeeping is a big, sweeping novel with interesting characters that intertwine in interesting and unexpected ways. I especially loved Ziva, the kibbutznik, though all of the characters were enchanting. Well-worth the read!
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim H.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Random characters brought together through time and place, their lives woven together despite their vast differences, as each of them searches for meaning amidst the impermanence of life. This is the center thread that beautifully ties Jessamyn Hope's novel, Safekeeping, together.

Hope does a wonderful job of character development. I came to truly care for the people I encountered throughout the novel. I desperately wanted Adam to succeed in his quest to find Dagmar and give her the brooch. I hop
Lisa Lieberman
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish-interest
I won this Audio CD of Jessamyn Hope's novel in a giveaway on Rebecca Foster's book blog and put it aside until I had some serious driving to do. I can't comment on how the book reads, since I only listened, but the narrator was WONDERFUL -- so wonderful that I believe I enjoyed hearing Safekeeping more than I would have enjoyed reading it on the page.

Kristen Potter's Russian-accented English (for Ulya) and her breathy French-tinged English (for Claudette) were exactly right, and probably accou
Amy Laird
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read this book based on a review in a Buzzfeed article called, "53 books you won't be able to put down". I thought the setting - an Israeli kibbutz, and the story of an addict traveling to fulfill his grandfather's dying wish, sounded interesting. I just finished it and really wish I had not spent my time doing so.

The writing itself is well-done, and the descriptions of the characters, places etc. are well-done, but I just did not like the story in the least. It is basically depressing from e
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Safekeeping is a beautifully written novel that crosses many continents, cultures and generations. It is a story of new beginnings, from the pioneers establishing a new homeland in Palestine, to Holocaust survivors seeking a place to heal after their tragedy, to a Russian émigré seeking escape from the USSR, to a woman with OCD who has just left the orphanage she grew up in for the first time, to an Israeli teen wounded in a bus bombing and to a troubled young man running from his past and tryin ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a thoroughly enjoyable novel with some truly interesting characters. Jessamyn Hope does a wonderful job in her debut of introducing and developing characters. These are all disparate people who are brought together on an Israeli kibbutz in 1994 for completely different reasons. Their interactions are complex and engaging for the reader as the book unfolds. At the center of this story line is an heirloom brooch but the true jewel of the book is communication between the characters and how ...more
Daniel Sevitt
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Maybe 50-100 pages too long which feels harsh as there were definitely moments of grace and beauty. There is a genuine nobility in one of the character's resilience and insistence on staying true to her path. The strength of those that founded the kibbutzim in the 40s and dedicated their lives to selflessly building the nascent state and establishing an agricultural economy is often forgotten amid the wars and the politics. Readable and moving.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are so many things I love about this all-consuming, well-written book: the unreliable characters, who constantly make you seesaw between rooting for them and hating them, thus making them feel like full, real people you could be passing on the street; the well-defined history of Jews and their never-ending plight; the beautiful setting, a kibbutz in Israel, a place where everyone is given second chances, all while living under a microscope of public judgment. A place that is old and compli ...more
Emily M
This is a beautiful and well-constructed book, and in reading it I was surprised not to have heard more about it upon its publication. The story line is hugely ambitious, especially for a debut author like Jessamyn Hope.

While reading, all I kept thinking was: "My favorite book all year! My favorite book all year!" I just couldn't put it down. The ending, though, left me with so many unanswered questions, which was frustrating, and left me dissatisfied. Though I did like the final chapter, which
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
3.5 stars

This was a really engaging read. The characters in here are all extremely unique as they work through their past and what they want from their future. Watching them reconcile what has happened, what they wish they could change, and what they can actually do about their future just really resonated with me and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about these characters. Plus the setting of a kibbutz in Israel is nothing that I've read about before and was really interesting to read about.
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not only is this novel smart, thought provoking and exceptionally well written, it’s just a damn good read. Once I got started it was hard to stop reading.

Hope works with several protagonists and all are compelling and interesting (and readable) in their own ways. No dogs here. (Well, except Golda, the little Chihuahua that follows Adam around. And even she’s a great character!) Despite the often heavy subject matter, Hope manages to weave in moments of lightness and humor. The ending left me s
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I can say with absolute certainty that this is the only novel I've ever read set on a kibbutz in the 1990s. And I reeeeaaaaly enjoyed it. At first I was discouraged by the book's length, but it was very well-paced and I found that I didn't want to put it down. Some of the characters were more fleshed out than others, and the last 50-75 pages inched a little bit too closely to melodrama for my taste, but overall I was absorbed and entertained. Reminded me of "The Goldfinch" a bit, in how the char ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jessamyn Hope weaves a complex, riveting story with fascinating characters, particularly the lead person, Adam. No one is without flaws in Safekeeping, and that's part of its appeal. Based mostly on a kibbutz in Israel, Safekeeping takes readers into many centuries. A brooch is also a main part of the book. Adam's late grandfather, who had survived the Holocaust, had owned the brooch and wanted it to go to the woman he loved, a woman who was on a kibbutz. This is a must-read, can't-put-down kind ...more
Katherine Waters
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such a great read. I'm only 3 days into my two week vacation and I'm sad to have already finished it. I still feel as though I'm on the kibbutz. I love when a book brings you into the story of the characters so fully that you can't help but wonder about them long after you've finished the last page. I was really surprised to be rooting for certain people by the end and it was delightful that the author didn't give it a predictable ending. It was a really wonderful book and I highly recommend pic ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mesmerizing! So beautifully written at times I felt the need to read it out loud.
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Jessamyn Hope is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. Her debut novel SAFEKEEPING was a Boston Globe recommended read; acclaimed by The Globe and Mail; a New York Public Library Staff Pick; ; a National Jewish Book Club pick; winner of the J.I. Segal Award; and a finalist for both the Harold U. Ribalow Prize and the Paterson Fiction Prize. Safekeeping can also be found at number two on BuzzFee ...more

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