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Miriam

(Rashi’s Daughters #2)

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,763 ratings  ·  150 reviews
The engrossing historical series of three sisters living in eleventh-century Troyes, France, continues with the tale of Miriam, the lively and daring middle child of Salomon ben Isaac, the great Talmudic authority. Having no sons, he teaches his daughters the intricacies of Mishnah and Gemara in an era when educating women in Jewish scholarship was unheard of. His middle d ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Plume (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,763 ratings  ·  150 reviews


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Brina
Read the whole series multiple times before joining GoodReads. Added for posterity. This book focuses on Miriam the midwife.
Deanna
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is the second in the Rashi's Daughters trilogy. It's historical fiction, based on a Jewish scholar and his family, who lived in Medieval France. I think I liked the first book (Joheved) better. This one seemed way too long. And I started to get bored with the religious discussions.

I enjoyed learning more about the people and customs of that time period. It's interesting to consider just how important religion was to people (and perhaps still is to some) - every decision they made (fro
...more
Diana Marques | Papéis e Letras
Again, another great story about Salomon's family, particularly his middle daughter, Miriam.
I loved this book because of its historical character and because of its depiction of what the daily life of a jewish family in the 11th Century France was. Besides, the author opens the discussion about homosexuality in this time, in the jewish community, and the discussion about what was the role of women in the public life (Miriam becomes a mohelet and a midwife) but also in the private life of the fam
...more
Deborah Mattes
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is better than the first. Miriam's story has more depth. Looking forward to reading the next book about Rachel.
Rachel Pollock
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book even more than the first one. It's very different structurally, in that book one followed the expected art of traditional romance, despite its extensive historical research and accuracy. The relationships between the people, especially men and women and particularly Miriam and her husband Judah, are much more complicated and realistic. I really love that these books are historical fiction which feature intelligent, self-possessed female characters who do much more than moon abou ...more
Lara
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the second book of this trilogy more then the first. Can’t wait to finish it with the third book soon.
Debbie
Liked it. Didn't love it. It was about Miriam at first but the second half was really more about her gay sexually frustrated husband. He loved deeply 3 different men and somehow even in the end he never got to experience sex with a man. It was a total tease and very frustrating. The real romance story of the book was on this closeted husband of hers. The history was ok. I never really felt like I was transported into the time or place which is a pretty big failure as it was supposed to be histor ...more
Susan
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of historical Jewish fiction
Shelves: judaicafiction
Fascinating look at more of Rashi's time period in history. The author brings up (again) the mundane, the provocative, the surprising issues of the era. She weaves in many aspects of Jewish life (this is fiction, though, so some of the characters and their professions are just that...fiction) into a tale of love, sorrow, and Talmud. I loved it as much as the first, and I can't wait to read the 3rd in the trilogy (Rachel). Highly recommended for those who've read the first (Yoheved), and for thos ...more
Keshena Booker
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was intrigued by this book's subtitle "A story of love and Talmud". Even though I am a Christian, I find myself fascinated by Judaism. I had never heard of the scholar Rashi, but of course any father insisting that his daughters have an education in the Middle Ages is intriguing. My curiosity was rewarded with a story that is essentially a bildunsgroman, following Miriam through her later teens throughout her adulthood. As the story opens she is a maiden, betrothed to and in love with Benjamin ...more
Laurie Hertz-Kafka
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this second book in the series of Rashi's Daughters. Miriam is a strong, independent woman who, in addition to being a Talmud scholar like her sisters and their husbands, is a mohelet as well as a midwife. The story covers the challenges she faces as a female in a traditionally male role; the town's acceptance of her in this role was much more than I would have expected for the times.

The story also emphasizes the challenges that Miriam faces with her husband Judah, who is bi
...more
Cyndi
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book two in a trilogy about Rashi's three daughters. Amazing research of 11th century Jewish life in France and beyond. Anton is also a sex researcher and she weaves that into these books. In book one it was pretty heavy handed but worked. Here it gets rather overwhelming. Her focus in book two is on male homosexuality with characters that either "give in" to their desires or who resist them (or some of both). On and on and on. Breathing a sigh of relief that in our time people can marry as they ...more
Jean St.Amand
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The only thing I don't like about historical fiction is all the nonsense about humors and bile and blood letting etc. The things about certain plants and herbs being beneficial is interesting though. About 360 pages in there was suddenly a lot of the stuff that kind of drives me crazy so I did some skimming and skipping and finished the book eager to move on to the third book about these people I have really come to care about. Sometimes find a lot of the names are hard to keep track of... some ...more
Patrick
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book very much and for various reasons! While reading it, I decided I did want to read Rachel, and Joheved less so. After reading some of the Comments, I think I may give the first book an eventual reading. So, thank you. It is interesting to see how everyone is rating this book, and view it. And, I would like to thank the Ms. Anton for her book. Thank you!
Linda Goodman
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found book 2 to be better written and more engaging than the first book. One major error is in chapter 33 where Sukkot precedes the Days of Awe. If you like historical fiction of the medieval times, this novel may interest you.
Emma
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
intriguing, exciting, and better than the first
Atarah
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not as good as the first one.
Shaynipper
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was just as enjoyable as Joheved. Eager to read third book Rachel.
Rachel
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, jewish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marissa
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am head over heals for this series. Each book is better than the last. Being a lover of histories and and historical fiction, I read them constantly and these books are by far the best historical fiction I have read to date. They are extraordinarily well-researched and accurate as far as is possible. I appreciate historical romances for what they are but I am often annoyed by their overt and often corny sexuality. Even though this series is subtitles "novels of love and the talmud in medieval ...more
April Helms
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to April by: Julia
Another excellent read. I really liked Miriam from the last novel, so it was great finding out more about her. Miriam suffers a terrible loss, and struggles through the book in recovering. She also meets a handsome man with many secrets. She also is finding her place in the community, both as its midwife and as someone trained to perform the ritual circumscision on infant males -- which is not without controversy. While the first novel touched more on the day-to-day, this book brings up more com ...more
Devorah
Sep 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Enjoyed Yoheved's story, the first in the series, several years ago. This one was harder for me. Miriam's struggles as a midwife and then female mohel and those of her husband Judah with his yetzer hara are credibly described but very different from how a modern reader understands the same issues. Also, the contradictions between the scholarly Torah study and the superstitions about how to protect against the evil eye or Lilit are odd. Still, an engaging depiction of the rhythms of life in 11th ...more
Garryvivianne
Jun 15, 2009 rated it liked it
In reading this book, you learn quite a bit about the Jewish religion. This is an actual historical novel about a true family. I enjoyed learning about the different rituals & the Jewish families in 11th century France. Rabbi Solomon Rashi had only daughters & taught them the writings of the Talmud, when women usually did not study it. This is the story of his second daughter Miriam. I think it would be hard to live that life tho, living your life according to the sayings of the Talmud. Jewish c ...more
Nadine Feldman
I enjoy these novels, which provide an interesting glimpse of Jewish life more than a thousand years ago. This is an engaging story of Miriam, a midwife who becomes a mohelet, controversial in its time (in addition to her Torah study, which was primarily allowed only to men). Her marriage to Judah, who is a "good" husband but who harbors deep secrets, is compelling.

In many cases throughout this book, it seemed too restrained. It could go further dramatically, and there were some missed opportuni
...more
Deb
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Part of a series, though I hadn't read the first book and followed it well enough. This book focused on Miriam, the 2nd of Rabbi Rashi's daughters, who loses her first love to an accident and then faces the difficult question of if and who she will marry. As a woman educated in the Torah she is unusual in Medieval France. Lots of customs about Judaism, the time period, midwifery and such are shared which is combined well with a human story. I found myself reflecting on the story when I wasn't re ...more
Nitya Iyer
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2star
It's very hard for me to actually rate this book because I see two sides of it that really deserve separate ratings. The characters themselves, the events of their lives and the insight that these events give me into study of the Talmud are wonderful. I really enjoyed the character of Miriam and watching her struggle with settling into the hand she was dealt. But the pacing of the story as a whole just didn't work. It moved in jerks and starts, with several exciting events bookended by long drea ...more
Sara G
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This is another enjoyable, well researched historical novel revolving around a Jewish family in medieval France. I've learned so much about medieval Jews from reading this series. This one goes more in depth into their lives, studies, businesses, etc. than the previous volume. I didn't like the plot as well, though. No spoilers here, but the second half of the book basically revolves around Miriam's husband and his issues, and it's hard to read from a modern perspective. I suspect it is very tru ...more
Naomi
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I didn't like this book quite as much as Rashi's Daughters: Book I, but I did like it and would recommend it. Miriam, Rashi's daughter, is a midwife, but also becomes a mohelet (female mohel). Although this book is fiction, I found it interesting to read the author's interpretation of how Rashi would have dealt with questions like whether a woman can be a mohelet. In addition, this book, like Book I, addressed extensively issues of sexuality--in this book the emphasis was on homosexuality among ...more
Ilana
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The saga of Rashi's daughters continues with more interesting developments and food for thought. The big art of the author is to make the characters alive and the reader to think about them after the reading portion is over. Besides the impressive literary achievements, the book continues to offer new interesting perspectives on the ambiance of the Middle Ages yeshivot and the customs of the time. I can't wait to find some time for the third - and last volume - even though I am sure that I will ...more
Diann
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting look at a culture that puts young men together as study partners of the Talmud who can spend more time with each other than with their wives, even sleeping together, but forbids sex between men, and the stresses that creates. I didn't think Rashi's Daughters were as well written as the later book about Jews in Babylon. To include descriptions of this time and place, for example, the author would sometimes resort to "tell me about . . ." in dialogue. Much as I still wanted to learn mo ...more
Lisa
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Rachel
An interesting look at the lives of medieval French Jews; specifically, the family of Rashi, one of Judaism's greatest sages. I liked Book One: Joheved better than Book Two. Book Two supposedly focused more on Miriam, but really the main character is her husband, Judah. While I found the plot interesting and I read the book quickly, it left me feeling a little sad and unsatisfied. It's hard to say more without giving away major plot details!
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Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual ...more

Other books in the series

Rashi’s Daughters (3 books)
  • Joheved (Rashi’s Daughters #1)
  • Rachel (Rashi’s Daughters #3)

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