Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter (Rav Hisda's Daughter #2)
Author: Maggie Anton
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Fantasy
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia.
One of the most powerful practitioners of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava--whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a "man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death--the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk.
The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where "abracadabra” originated. Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.
Praise for Apprentice (Rav Hisda's Daughter: Book I):“A lushly detailed look into a fascinatingly unknown time and culture—a tale of Talmud, sorcery, and a most engaging heroine!” —Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series
Anton, the author of the acclaimed “Rashi’s Daughters” trilogy, has penned her best book to date. Using her extensive knowledge of the Talmud and other historical Jewish writings, she immersed herself in the tractates to uncover a marvelous heroine for this historical novel… Complex discussions of Jewish law and tradition as well as detailed description of the culture and customs of the times enhance truly wonderful storytelling. VERDICT This absorbing novel should be on everyone’s historical fiction reading list." —Library Journal (starred review)
“Fascinating reading await those who dive into the vividly depicted world of Babylonian Jewry … Anton succeeds brilliantly in drawing us into the formative period leading up to the Talmud … what we have is the work of a master craftswoman set upon repairing a major gap in Jewish literature —Philadelphia Jewish Voice
“Rav Hisda’s Daughter provides a wealth of historical detail about Jewish life in Babylon and Israel in the 3rd century CE. It depicts the daily life and coming of age of a prominent rabbi’s daughter rather than propelling its reader through a traditional arc of action with a crisis and resolution. Its interest lies in its portrayal of the sorcery, incantations, and women’s customs in this exotic, faraway period of time and place, sometimes against the backdrop of war.” —Historical Novel Society
Praise for the Rashi's Daughters Trilogy:“Anton delivers a tour de force . . . [Readers] will fly through the pages and come away wishing for more.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance.” –Lilith magazine
Enchantress is the beautifully told second book in the Rashi's Daughters Trilogy. The book tells the story of Hisdadukh - Rav Hisda's daughter - and her husband, Rava, along with their experiences with magic, the occult, and encounters with supernatural beings. Hisdadukh is a fascinating main character for the book and I immediately connected with her. The book is told from her point of view, so we get to see more of her character than with other points of view. The reader is able to get a more clear picture of who she is - her fears, desires, emotions, and innermost thoughts. Along with the overall narrative of the story, the character of Hisdadukh really comes alive. She's brave, incredibly smart, and a powerful woman of magic. I loved getting to know her on a personal level and to experience the story beside her. Rava, her husband, is also an important character in the novel. He and Hisdadukh share a deep love for one another that's a big part of the book. Their love is constantly tested by all types of situations - magical and normal alike. I really enjoyed watching their relationship together and how strong their bond was. The plot was absolutely mesmerizing - nothing short of magnificent. The author weaves together so many fascinating concepts - magic, Jewish lore, demons, angels, and the occult - that I was in awe throughout the entire book. These topics have always fascinated me, so I found myself totally immersed in all the supernatural aspects throughout the story. Knowing that the author did a lot of research for the book, I was even more enthralled with the tales in the book and the different encounters and situations that Hisdadukh and Rava found themselves in. The writing was beautifully done - it has a completely natural flow that pulls the reader into the story and doesn't let go until the final words. The descriptions and imagery were so vivid and detailed that I felt like I could shut my eyes and experience the story beside the characters. Everything about the novel - from the setting of Babylonia to the distinct personalities of the characters and the detailed accounts of magic - were magnificent and enthralling. I very highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, as well as those who enjoy stories of magic and the occult, and readers who are looking for a beautifully written novel unlike anything else out there.
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 observance. In 2006, Anton retired from being a clinical chemist in Kaiser Permanente's Biochemical Genetics Laboratory to become a fulltime writer.
In the early 1990's, Anton learned about a women's Talmud class taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Much was written about Rashi, but almost nothing of the daughters, except their names and the names of their husbands. Legend has it that Rashi's daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a trilogy of historical novels about them was born.
After the success of "Rashi's Daughters" Anton started researching the lives of women in 4th-century Babylonia, where the Talmud was being created. Surprised by the prevalence of sorcery among rabbinic families, she wrote "Rav Hisda's Daughter: Bk 1 - Apprentice," which was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award Fiction finalist and a Library Journal pick for Best Historical Fiction.
For more information please visit Maggie Anton's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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Enchantress Blog Tour Schedule:Monday, October 6
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Review at A Dream Within a Dream
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Review at History From A Woman's Perspective
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Review at My Book Addiction and More
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Review at Book Nerd