28 May 2018


A bit of a different post today in that I shall not just be sharing my thoughts on not one book but three.

All of them by MAISIE MOSCO, all off our book shelves (I was trying to think when I last read them and can't remember doing so at this address where we've been for 22+ years), Almonds and Raisins (you can find the synopsis for this and the other books by clicking on their title) was read for the ... 

What's in A Name: 'A Fruit Or Vegetable In the title' category.

Each time a horse and cart turned into the approach Yossel Lensky hoisted his belongings onto his back expectantly and put them down again when the vehicle rumbled past him.
- First sentence, Part One: Hopes & Dreams, Chapter One

'I haven't got no handkerchieves,' the skinny little boy told her.

From your dadda's old shirts your mamma could make you some, like I did for my girls.'

'No she couldn't, my brothers're still wearing them.'
- Memorable moment, Page 148

Scattered Seed

Sarah stood by the window waiting for Abraham to arrive home from work.
- First Sentence, Part One: Relative Values, Chapter One

The twins were asleep, undisturbed by the noise of the aircraft overhead and the falling bombs, their vulnerable innocence heightening the others' waiting tension.

'God is watching over us,' Sarah whispered, fingering her brooch.

'If he hasn't been blasted out of Heaven'' Martin replied cynically.
- Memorable Moment, Page 193

The steady thrum of the aircraft's engines was lulling Sarah to sleep.
- First Sentence, Part One: Bright New World, Chapter One

She could not bear to see what this strong-willed man, whose intellect she had on first acquaintance found formidable, had been reduced to. A burden to those whose most respected adviser he had once been, deprived of his dignity, and an object of pity.
- Memorable Moment, Page 231

MY THOUGHTS ...  A good 'old-fashioned' saga (and I in no way do I mean that derogatorily), by far best read in order from the beginning and if at all possible, with the ending of each book left wide open for the next instalment, one after the other.

OK, so a bit long winded at times and the turns the plot takes, on occasion glaringly obvious but ...

My favourite book in the trilogy*, Almonds And Raisins, an epic tale which follows the lives of first generation immigrants, Sarah and Abraham, is a tremendous bitter-sweet story of family, of the struggles they face; of the bonds that tie; of Jewish culture. Read it (though sadly no longer in print, second hand copies are available) and I bet you'll find yourselves caught up in the lives of matriarch, Sarah, and her brood, longing to know more.

Then ...

With fascism come to Manchester and her children gradually moving away from the traditions once held so dearly, Scattered Seed, as suggested by the title, sees the children of Sarah and Abraham scattered; the ever resilient Sarah accepting as always ... or is she?

Until ...

With the breaking of the Sabbath and inter-faith marriage having become common practise, with several key characters not what they were/no longer with us, Children's Children follows the third generation of Sandberg's (not that they are all now known as this, their last name having been anglicised by certain branches of the family) in a timely conclusion to a drama that plays out the broadening horizons of one generation as another, older generation looks on. 

Setting aside that all the additional characters (many, as tradition dictated, named after others; some very similar to others) made for confusing reading; that I was reluctant to leave behind Sarah's weekly Shabbos teas, there was just something (admittedly nothing I could quite put my finger on) about these, the last two books in the trilogy, that meant I didn't enjoy them quite as much as the first. 

Still, (in Sarah) with a character you won't forget in a hurry and a fascinating social commentary much of which still resonates today, well worth the later than usual bed-times spent reading.

* Update 29.02.2018: My mistake. As pointed out by Brian over at Babbling Books there are in fact five books in this series and not three. 

I'd totally forgotten about the last two books ('Out Of the Ashes' and 'New Beginnings') until I checked my book journal (used pre-Pen and Paper) which confirms I did in fact read both but, less than impressed (I recorded they had only a tenuous link to the previous three), they did not survive a book cull we had a few years ago and ended up in a bag destined for the charity shop. TT


The Bookworm said...

Sounds like an interesting vintage series, especially since the topics involved still resonate today.

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like a worthwhile trilogy to read. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these books.

Kelly said...

I always enjoy a good family saga and Sarah sounds like an interesting character.

Great choice for the WIAN challenge!

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. Sarah sounds like an excellent character.

Brian Joseph said...

These books sound good. It sounds as if change is one of the themes in these books. The twentieth century was such a time of change. Any story that covers multiple years during that time is sure to grapple with it.

If I am not mistaken, I think that there are some additional books in this series?

nightwingsraven said...

Sarah sounds like a truly
memorable matriarch. And
the trilogy sounds like
a good and interesting
family saga. I will
definitely keep it in

Tracy Terry said...

I love good strong characters and especially good strong feisty female characters and for this reason I adore Sarah.

You are right Brian. I'd totally forgotten about the last two books ('Out Of the Ashes' and 'New Beginnings'). My book journal which I used pre-Pen and Paper shows I did in fact read both and was less than impressed (they had only a tenuous link to the previous three) thus they did not survive a book cull we had a few years ago and ended up in a bag for the charity shop.

DMS said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these three. Good to know you enjoyed them- but that the last two (out of the 5 in the series) weren't as good in your opinion. Sounds like a good saga. :) Thanks for sharing!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I like a good saga but it's been a while since I read one.