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The Light of the Midnight Stars

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  51 reviews
An evocative combination of fantasy, history, and Jewish folklore, The Light of the Midnight Stars is fairytale-inspired novel from the author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in his descendants. Gathering under the midnight stars, they pray, sing and perform small miracles - and none are more gifted t
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: April 13th 2021 by Redhook
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Siavahda I don't know the specifics but apparently it features an F/F relationship!…moreI don't know the specifics but apparently it features an F/F relationship!(less)

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Feb 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, arc, netgalley
I want to bar myself,
from the light
of the midnight stars.
I have no one else to turn to.
Perhaps if I step out
onto the balcony
and fall,
a star will catch me.

I don’t know if I gave The Light of the Midnight Stars a completely fair shake: I started it just before my life got busy again, and when I realised that it was kind of a YA Fantasy Romance, I wasn’t eager to keep picking it up again; I spent way too long with this and it wasn’t entirely the book’s fault. I didn’t love specific aspects
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This was so beautiful and timeless. Full review coming closer to publication!
Amber Kozawick
3.5 Stars
Thank you so much Goodreads & Rena Rossner for the ARC of this book.

“But life has a way of surprising us all, I suppose. And even though some destinies are written in the stars, or rooted in the ground—it doesn’t mean we don’t get a chance on this earth to try and change them.”

Wow. This book is a lot. Sometimes in wonderful ways, sometimes just in that it was completely overwhelming.

I can tell you with confidence that the stories told in The Light of the Midnight Stars will stick with
Larissa Z
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Orbit books and Netgalley. I am so incredibly grateful for being given the opportunity to review this book. As someone raised in a Jewish family, this novel spoke directly to my heart. Every page was filled with beauty, magic, heartache and hope; both fairy tale and history interwoven into an unforgettable tale.

The Light of the Midnight Stars tells the story of three sisters: Hannah, the eldest, with her affinity for the natural world; Sarah, the middle daughter with her fie
The Starry Library
'The Light of the Midnight Stars' weaves a mystical tale about the space between light and dark where self-discovery is illuminated. Part folklore, part legend, part history- this fairytale is an intricate melding of Jewish heritage and Eastern European mythology. The love, heartbreak, faith, and courage experienced by all of the characters constellate a tale about the stories we keep, the stories we create, and the stories that we believe.

It follows the tale of three sisters each with a story
Thank you to NetGalley and Redhook Books for the ARC!

Queer Rep: bisexual woman POV character, lesbian love interest
Major Trigger Warnings: sexual violence, sexism/misogyny, violent antisemitism, sexual content involving minors/with adults, grief, death generally, and more specific very visceral acts of violence/execution that are spoilers

I really wanted to love this book, and there are parts I did love! The grounded, complex and messy portrayal of Jewish identity and belief and history and mytho
Phoebe E
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Light of the Midnight Stars is a beautiful book that weaves stories and folklore with history, fantasy and Jewish tradition to create compelling story of three sisters facing down an ever changing world. I was immediately drawn into this world and the community at the heart of the story, following the joys and tragedies of Hannah, Sarah and Levana's lives. I absolutely loved the way fantasy was woven into this story, particularly because so little fantasy exists that also pulls from Jewish f ...more
Kayla Brown
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an early copy to read! The Light of the Midnight stars is a wonderful story, steeped in history, folklore, and Jewish tradition and folklore. Telling the story of three sisters and the love and heartbreak they each experience. Combining Jewish folklore with real historical roots, Rossner has created a beautiful story, filled with both happiness and stunning heartbreak and a hint of magic. Written in beautiful and often lyrical prose, The Light of ...more
Raya Smith
read a more in-depth review on my blog
I received this e-ARC through netgalley
I was ecstatic when I was granted access to this ARC because hearing that there would be a sapphic and jewish fantasy novel hitting shelves in April was some of the best news I have ever received.

As a jewish person I can get so easily frustrated when I'm looking for a book with good jewish representation. I was ecstatic about this book because I KNEW it would represent my people in a way that displays how much be
Caroline Hedges
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a tough book to get into and I nearly decided to give up. But I am so glad I didn't as it turned out to be a beautiful, fairy talesque story of three talented daughters who had to hide their greatness for fear of persecution. Woven into the tales of a people who could control the weather and elements and change shape was Jewish culture and faith. The beauty of the traditions was wonderful to read about.
So stick with it and enjoy the dose of magic realism, fairy tale and historical ficti
Ashley Bunker
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
"The Light of the Midnight Stars", by Rena Rossner, was incredibly interesting. The foundation of this novel is packed full of Romanian history and folklore and Jewish tenets. We follow a family as they are always wandering because home is ever changing. Abba is the father of 3 daughters: Hannah, Levana, and Sarah. Each of them so different, but close to each other. They each end up on their own path, and hopefully find their own purpose.

Rossner has the gift for storytelling. I loved how she in
Cara Gores
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book is beautiful and dreamlike in the best possible way. It is a jewish inspired fairy tale based in Eastern Europe. Filled with both Eastern European and Jewish folklore, it tells the story of three sisters who face tremendous hardships, but rise up to become powerful, glorious, symbols of hope and freedom. The oldest sister holds the magic of making things grow. She is wise and beautiful, but faces a tragedy that forces her whole community to have to flee their town. The middle sister is ...more
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner was a captivating read that I could not put down!
There are three main characters that are sisters who are from a Jewish descent. It has a fairytale, historical vib to it that leaves you educated and mesmerized. There is magic, love, loss, and heartbreak. The author has a Jewish background and comes from a storytelling family. I really enjoyed this book. I gave it 5 stars, I will definitely think about it for some time. Highly recommend.
Mar 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have begun to write my own story in these pages. The story I will tell my children.
About a girl who fell in love with a star.
About a girl whose heart was made of fire.
About a girl who found a way to plant herself in the earth and grow.

I had very little idea of what this book was going to be like. I’ve had the authors previous book on my shelf for far too long, but I just couldn’t resist requesting this on Netgalley. What I got was a tale of loss, of love, of the power of stories and how people
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm rounding up on this one because I stayed up all night reading it, but overall I was disappointed with this book.

This is a very Jewish book, which I loved, and the Hebrew and references to the Talmud and Torah and the creation of a fictional liturgy called the Book of the Solomonar were all very well done. There's a glossary in the back, but I think non-Jewish readers might be lost on some of the elements, and that's okay! It's clear this was written by a Jewish author for a Jewish reader.

In an amalgamation of folklore, fairy tale, and myth, this historical fantasy follows a Jewish family with three daughters in 14th century Eastern Europe. In their early teens, the girls experiences tragedy after tragedy rooted in religious persecution.

First of all, I think several content warnings are necessary here, and there may be more: anti-Semitism, violent deaths, rape, death of a spouse, forced migration, stigma/discrimination against LGBT characters, sexism.

This is a story full of traum
Annette Jordan
The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner is an intriguing and unusual blend of historical fiction and folk tale. Heavily influenced by the author's Jewish heritage and her family history, this book is an ambitious and richly layered offering . Three sisters , each with unusual abilities are living deep in the Hungarian woods. As descendants of King Solomon they and their father are held in high regard by the rest of their community, Hannah the oldest sister has an affinity for nature, abl ...more
Nurafini Zahid
Apr 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
3.75 stars

The story is about 3 sisters, Hannah, Levana and Sarah who were from a devoted Jewish family in 14th century. They were also gifted with special power that influence their fate in life. Fills with folkfore, legends and history together blended with Jewish heritage and Eastern Europe mythology. This is the first time I encounter and read Jewish representation book which also contained LGBTQ rep (bisexual & lesbian love interest). Also included so many triggered warning like sexual viole
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgallery for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

This is the second book I've read by this author. I'm not Jewish myself, but I have read a fair amount of Jewish mysticism in a similar style of this story. This book is set in Hungary in 14th century and tells the story of three sisters, each with a different and magical ability. The story follows each of the sisters in alternating chapters who make choices that direct their fate. One day, a terrible tragedy occu
Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Note: I won an ARC of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway.

I really wanted to like this book - I love fairy tale retellings. However, I just couldn't bring myself to love this one. This might have been in part because it was the wrong fairytale (in part, "The Boys with the G0lden Stars", a more obscure tale). Yet, I don't think it was that alone.

In this book, we follow the tale of three different daughters of a Jewish rabbi in the mythical village of Trnava. Each daughter has mystical gifts whi
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written tale that is haunting and evocative. Rossner's prose enraptured me. I was swept away by her words. They clung to my eyes, and wrapped themselves around my soul. I could not put this book down even as I feared the ominous cloud that hung over the world that she told. This tale is haunting, romantic, historical, heartbreaking and magical. It is a novel that can be loved by readers of literary fiction and fantasy alike. It inhabits both realms.

I would like to mention why this
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Rossner's first book, The Sisters of the Winter Wood and was excited to try her sophomore novel. Admittedly the synopsis didn't quite grab my attention as much, but I really enjoyed her writing and anything involving fairy tales or retellings is still very much my vibe. I didn't quite mash with this one as much. I think this is mainly due to three POV characters crammed into one story that is also about 30% full of short stories. We have three adolescent sisters who are ...more
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time, there are three sisters, each with a unique and special power.

This was the perfect balance between historical fiction and fantasy. Its very whimsical but also its a tragic story.
Hannah, Sarah and Levana are sisters; their father is a scholar and they are descended from King Solomon, they live in small and quiet town, but soon things will change, when they will discover love, tragic will follow.

Hannah is the oldest; she can heal and grow things. Sarah is more wild and she can tr
Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 22, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a really hard time getting started with this book. Then I finally became engrossed in it. About a third of the way in, there are new names, but the author doesn’t tell us who they are. We have to figure it out for ourselves. At this point, it becomes about a family in a different town with new people around them. The parents fade into the background; the daughters find new friendships/relationships. Parts of this novel are very fantastical which kept me reading.

While it’s certainly well-wr
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Part magical realism, part historical fiction, part midrash, part kabbalah, part folk tale retelling, this is a powerful book that's deep in Jewish tradition.

Told from the perspectives of three sisters, this is the story of ethnic violent prejudice, love, faith, family, and--sadly--reality, even with the more mystical elements. There is also an LBGTQ+ element, though that's not the focus. There's a strong theme of not being able to escape one's fate, of being tied to one's ancestral history and
Almost 5 stars but not quite.

If you like fairytales or books that read like fairytales, this book is for you.

This novel was a very comforting read to me. The atmosphere was amazing. The Eastern European/Jewish mythology made me feel at home. It weirdly reminded me of my childhood and how much I love fairy tales. I loved the stylistic choice the author made to tell each sisters' story. I felt so much for our main 3 characters and I thought Rossner did a decent job fleshing them out. However, I
Samantha  Hehr
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful. For fans of Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver, Uprooted, and the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden.

If you loved Rena Rossner's book The Sisters of the Winter Woods, you will love The Light of the Midnight Stars.

This book is the tragic tale of three Jewish sisters who encounter love, loss, and purpose and perhaps love once more. This is the tragedy of Jews who live in hiding, abandoning their beliefs in the wake of persecution.

The woods of Europe carry legends and monste
Rafael Andrade
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"The story I will tell my children.
About a girl who fell in love with a star
About a girl whose heart was made of fire
About a girl who found a way to plant herself in the earth and grow"

The light of the midnight star turns out to be one of the most interesting books I've read so far.
The book does not tell the story of a specific mission to complete nor a damsel in distress to save. It is a story about a magical Jewish family going about their lives and at some point facing some difficult challeng
Mar 10, 2021 rated it liked it
ARC from NetGalley

Can something be dark and whimsical at the same time?

This book is very folk-tale in style. Parts of it are written like poetry.

It's not really a deep story. It's not something you really dig your teeth into with character growth and a deep plot.

That said, it isn't a bad read. Like I said, it's whimsical. There is magic and curious happenings, but it's honestly really depressing. There is no happy ending. It's a book you read for the moment not for the journey or the ending,
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Rena Rossner hails from Miami Beach, Florida. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars program, Trinity College, Dublin and she holds a MA in history from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her debut novel, The Sisters of the Winter Wood, was listed as "One of the 100 Best Books" of the year by Publisher's Weekly. She currently lives in Israel, where she works as a ...more

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