Love the Yiddish: but can’t speak it.

jewish - Love the Yiddish: but can't speak it. That Jewish Thing
Amber Crewe
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humour
Coronet, Hodder and Stoughton
January 13, 2022
three star - Love the Yiddish: but can't speak it.

Tamsyn Rutman is at yet another wedding, for yet another cousin. She wouldn't mind - the food's pretty good, the location is fabulous and there's a moderately famous singer crooning away - but what is a Jewish wedding if not the perfect opportunity for the bride to do a bit of matchmaking on behalf of her single, workaholic cousin? Tamsyn's not at the table with her parents and her family, she's sitting next to Ari Marshall. Ari is everything Tamsyn doesn't want for herself, and everything her family want for her. Stubbornly determined not to fall into the trap of someone else's happily ever after, Tamsyn decides to focus on work, and while interviewing London's hottest new chef, finds herself being swept off her feet . . . by someone her family definitely wouldn't approve of. But somehow, Ari and Tamsyn keep crossing paths, and she's about to find out that in love, and in life, it's not always easy to run away from who you really are...

I chose this NetGalley book because it spoke to me of my childhood, and then was astonished at how much the characters in it were my family come to life in a book…

Except that most of my family spoke very little Yiddish in comparison to these.. These were 2 generations or more closer to the ghettos than mine.

So let’s look at the similarities:

  1. My family also come to England from the White Russian/Polish areas -maybe before those in the book though, as they left in the late 1800s as a result of the ghettos and pogroms happening then. So we had not got family in Europe during the Holocaust luckily;
  2. They also went and settled into the East End – all around Bow;
  3. Then they all went to live in and around Edgware just before the 2nd World War. Some in the same street, others around the corner.
  4. I remember the Jewish shops in Edgware – the fish shop where you could buy gefilte fish ingredients ready chopped and the bagel shops. But our Kosher butcher was at the Green Man shopping parade and he sold the most tasty boiling fowl with lots of egg yolks to put in the soup. Now as for Kneidlach, there were 2 ways if making them – heavy or light, and each of my grandmothers made them the 2 different ways. My preference, and my husband’s, is for a middle way. Yes I still make them! But most of the Jewish shops have now gone from Edgware – it is a very sad shopping centre now, the department store has gone and so many of the shops that used to thrive there;
  5. And I too went to a Mill Hill synagogue – but a different one from in the book – and Cheder on a Sunday too. But I stayed on for much longer and very nearly got  Bat Mitzvahed – the female version of a Bar Mitzvah, which was quite unusual then in an orthodox synagogue. I have several trees in Israel I paid for with my stamps I bought each week at Cheder.
  6. And finally I too had friends and relatives who went to Israel and stayed – none went until they were 18 at least though, and most went to spend time in a Kibbutz. Many came back though as the politics became too right wing for them. Once it was full of Ashkenazi now not so much.
  7. Oh, and a point about me – I had a DNA test and I am 99% of Jewish origins and 1% Nigerian. I have 3 different strains including one dating back to a tribe in the Middle East from Biblical times.

Now let’s talk about the book.

So while yes, it did take me down memory lane, and for me that was fun, I suspect that for many others there was far too much Yiddish and not enough explanation and the glossary at the back was unreadable. The Jewish wedding description only applied to a very Frum event, I don’t remember more than one wedding where there were chairs involved let alone ribbons – except on TV. So I think many of the customs were exagerated for effect. Which is both good and bad. And honestly, the whole ending was too trite.

There is also such a difference between the ‘tribe’ and its customs, and the faith. I believe that I am Jewish because of my tribe, not my faith – I am non-religious – and each sub-tribe – depending on their village and Rabbi in the 16th and 17th centuries, have developed their own versions of the culture and customs. Espcially between the Ashkenazi – the Western European – and the Sefardi – the Eastern Jews. and even practice their faith in different ways too.

I find myself torn in how to characterise this book. Whilst it is clearly a romance – with some humour and tristesse, it is also a book about a dying culture – in terms of the customs practiced. So, did I like it because of my own history and memories brought back to me? Or because of the story? Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion, it is the former and thus without those memories the book would not have struck me as a good read which will limit its appeal.

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Not this duke

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content?id=wxKnjwEACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&source=gbs api - Not this duke The Forbidden Duke
The Untouchables #1
Darcy Burke
Fiction, Historical, Regency
October 24, 2018
four star - Not this duke

Spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart is suddenly homeless and employment is her only option. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel's excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she's lucky to obtain a position as a paid companion and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn't be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation... Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother's ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart--and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she's back, and she needs his help. But by "saving" her, he may just ruin her life all over again.

Nora is our heroine in this Duke marries someone unexpected story.

So, we have another imprudent, unwise and generally lacking in financial sense father who manages to lose the family money. Miss Eleanor Lockhart, (Nora) discovers that her selfish – yes he is that too, has made arrangements to live in a very small cottage on the farm owned by his son-in-law – who dislikes him, and has left nothing for Eleanor to live on. A further sister was married to a parson who would not look kindly to taking on another mouth to feed. Which leaves Nora in quite a quandary. What does a gently bred lady in 1811, do to earn a living or put a roof over her head?  There are only 2 further possibilities. Become a Governess or a Companion – to a Lady – not the other sort! And Nora has a problem with her reputation – she was involved in a scandal when she was in her first, and only season. And the man concerned – we can’t call him a gentleman – refused to do the correct and gentlemanly thing and offer her marriage. So, her reputation was besmirched as they called it and thus she would have difficulty in both employments.

Luckily, the stepmother of the Duke of Kendal – Titus – a popular roman name meaning title of honour (I know right?)  would really like someone to go shopping with her, a companion in fact, and Nora is sent to her by the agency she signed up with and it is liking at first sight. Lady Satterfield knows about the reputation besmirch and doesn’t care. Titus also knows and is very cross with the ungentlemanly gentleman and decides to give his mother’s new companion a leg up in society. And so, the romance begins.

A nice and predictable historical romance by Darcy. With a light touch and gentle humour – but look out as the Untouchables meet the Spitfire Society and the Pretenders in the next 2 series related to this one.



Who do you Love?

pippa - Who do you Love? I Pucking Love You
The Copper Valley Thrusters Book 5
Pippa Grant
Romance, Sports, Adult,
Bang Laugh Love LLC
(8 April 2021)
five star - Who do you Love?

You know those stories where an adorably misunderstood clumsy girl needs a fake date to a wedding so she asks her brother’s best friend and they accidentally fall in love?

I wish that was the kind of life I lead, but it’s not.

I don’t need a date to a wedding. I need a date to a funeral.

Clumsy sometimes fits, but then, that’s true for all of us, right? But adorable? No. Misunderstood? Nope again. I’m just your average girl, standing in front of a funeral invitation, asking it to be a winning lottery ticket instead.

And I don’t have a brother, or a best friend with a brother available, which means I’m stuck with Tyler Jaeger.

Sure, he’s a professional hockey player who also knows advanced calculus, but let’s say we’re not compatible and leave it at that. I should know. I am a matchmaker.

Not a very good one, but that’s beside the point.

I know a mismatch when I see one.

Still, Tyler’s what I’ve got, and I am not going to this funeral solo, so he’s what I’ll take.

After all—what could go wrong at a funeral?

I love all the Pippa Grant novels. She comes up with great punning titles for her books see list – and also the characters are larger than life with some really outrageous kinks, peculiarities and behaviours. Latest book – I Pucking Love You.

[I Pucking Love You is a hilariously wrong romantic comedy about the world’s worst matchmaker, a hockey player with a problem he doesn’t want to talk about, and an awkward date-of-convenience that everyone would prefer to forget. It comes complete with a cat working his way through his nine lives, all the sexy times, fish and chips, and a swoony happily-ever-after.]

Basically we are all about to find out how smallish town USA goes mad for its hockey and baseball players. Baseball in the summer, and hockey in the winter.

They wear the jerseys and the baseball caps. they have mascots. they have strange behaviours that they believe influence the outcome of the matches. they hero worship. And are in love with their team and all its players, without fail, win or lose. And there are ‘bunnies’ in bars for all the players. And the players make atrocious amounts of money not just for playing but also for being the ‘face of’; and are at the mercy of the management who can trade them to another team if they think they can get enough money for them, or swap them for another player/s who are better. And this can mean moving across country every couple of years.

Many of the guys in these novels are either related to each other, or have been friends since childhood. And the same goes for the women. Which means we also find out something about their back story and how they became the player that they are. In some cases it is quite tragic when we find out for instance why one of the Berger twins doesn’t speak much.

I have read all of these in a Pippa Grant fest – I just went through the catalogue. First the Baseball players and then the Hockey players as the Berger twins interested me. Why were they so big? I never did find out. As it seemed that their parents were normal sized and twins that are extra sized? Were they just as big when they came out of the womb? Or did they just grow into these monstrously tall and muscled bodies over time?

Pippa Grant novels: Master Baker / Hero and Hacktivist / Pilot and the Puck-up / Rockaway Bride / Real Fake Love / Liar Liar Hearts on Fire / Beauty and Beefcake / Hot Heir / Royally Pucked / Flirting with the Frenemy / America’s Geekheart

image 22 - Who do you Love?

Not Beck but Beckham!
 Did he add socks?

Example of how the players made a lot of extra money as Beck has his own underwear range and poses wearing it for the publicity…

Also:Happy Cat (with Lili Valente) / Copper Valley Thrusters / Girl Band / Misfit Brides with Jamie Farrell / The Officers Ex-Wives Club / Bro Code / Bluewater Billionaires /

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Teach me please! Book Review

lessons - Teach me please!  Book Review Lessons in Love.
Belinda Missen.
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humour
HQ Digital
(11 Jun. 2019)
three star - Teach me please!  Book Review

Eleanor Manning is finally leaving behind her glittering but empty life in the city (and her soon-to-be-ex-husband) to return to the comfort of her childhood home in Apollo Bay. She’s landed a lovely new job and a flatshare with her bubbly best friend, Penny. So yes, she’s well and truly learnt her lesson when it comes to love… But then she meets gorgeous teacher Marcus Blair and Eleanor’s self-imposed rules fly out of the window! Surely she can resist him long enough to keep this fling no strings attached? Fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Colleen Coleman will love Belinda Missen!

This was a free book given to me by the publishers.

It falls neatly into Women’s Fiction with a pair of teachers falling for each other and follows the trope very closely.

The woman coming back to teach after a nasty divorce and finding that there is a very hot sports teacher at her school.

She has her fantasies about what she and the teacher can get up to, and unwittingly shares them to him.. and then he really wants to share them with her!

Nicely written with some humour but very little left to chance or unexpected in the story so downgrades it to a 3 star.

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A duke and always? Book Review

content?id= 2kOEAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&edge=curl&source=gbs api - A duke and always? Book Review Forever Your Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas
Erica Ridley
Erica Ridley
December 18, 2020
four star - A duke and always? Book Review

From a New York Times bestselling author: A forbidden love, opposites attract romp between a meticulously proper duke and an impishly improper spinster in this witty, feel-good romance! This year, the Duke of Nottingvale's Christmastide house party doubles as a bride hunt. The handsome duke seeks a blue-blooded debutante as respectable as he is, and his parlor is brimming with paragons of propriety. Inveterate spinster and unapologetic hoyden Miss Cynthia Louise Finch does not fit the mold. Any mold. Her younger cousin is perfect for the duke! By matchmaking the two, Cynthia will save her favorite cousin from a horrific fate. The only problem? Cynthia has always held a tendre for the duke. And for the first time, she seems to have caught his attention... The Duke of Nottingvale knows his responsibilities: Duty and decorum above all else. A respectable lord would never sneak away for stolen moments with a fearless, audacious minx he cannot make his duchess. He definitely wouldn't kiss her. Or fall in love... The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!

Cynthia is a bit of a naughty spinster. She hasn’t waited until marriage as she is convinced that she won’t ever be married and therefore there is no point in waiting. But her affairs are always short and sweet – only at Christmas as that is the only time she is around the Christmas village and has access to suitable people.

This is the 12th book in the 12 books of Xmas series and the one that ties up the final Duke. The duke that holds an annual party for Xmas but never lives in Cressmouth at any other time, and as he is always hosting his party, never finds out what other delights the town has to offer.

Until he meets up with an ‘older’ spinster, who having endured many ‘Seasons’ and not having acquired any interest in marriage from suitors- and in fact rarely even been asked to danced – had decided that she could enjoy her herself in what would be termed scandalous pursuits if she were marriageable. She lures the duke out of his party and into Cressmouth delights, but has a number of accidents with him as she does – including skiing and almost breaking his legs.

This was as always light, stylish and fun to read.

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