Saturday, November 27, 2021

Review: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (Blog Tour)


About the Book

Author: Jean Meltzer
ISBN: 9780778311584
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher: MIRA Books

Book Summary from Publisher

Oy! to the world 

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach. 

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg. 

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

My Review


Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt loves Christmas.  She has made a name for herself in the literary world as the author of Christmas romance novels.  She even has a room set up in her home with all Christmas decorations.  Of course, as the daughter of a Rabbi, she’s keeping this a secret.  Her own family doesn’t even know about her successful career. 

Everything turns upside down when her publisher no longer wants Christmas romances.  Now they want Hanukkah romances.  Rachel is at a loss since Hanukkah is much different than Christmas, especially in celebrations.  When she hears about a Matzah Ball event on the last night of Hanukkah, she’s desperate to attend.  She figures it will add much flavor to her book. Then, she finds out her old nemesis, Jacob Greenberg is in charge.  She fears she will never get one of the sought-after tickets now. 

The last time Jacob saw Rachel was when they were twelve at a summer camp.  His last memory of her was when she stood him up at a dance. After that humiliation, he wants nothing to do with Rachel and definitely doesn’t want her at his Matzah Ball. 

This is a fun, sweet romantic comedy.  It’s filled with Jewish traditions and language which brings you right into the story.  I felt like I was right there and I now have a craving for latkes (potato pancakes). 

I did find the conflict between Jacob and Rachel based on something that happened when they were 12 to be a little silly.  They are adults now so I would have thought they’d be beyond that, but it was still kind of cute. 

Rachel suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  The author did a nice job of letting the readers see and feel what she was going through and how it hampered Rachel’s everyday life.   

There were many LOL moments.  It’s a nice holiday read and heartwarming for the season.


FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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Author Bio

Author Jean Meltzer studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch, and served as creative director at Tapestry International, garnering numerous awards for her work in television, including a daytime Emmy. Like her protagonist, Jean is also a chronically-ill and disabled Jewish woman. She is an outspoken advocate for ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), has attended visibility actions in Washington DC, meeting with members of Senate and Congress to raise funds for ME/CFS. She inspires 9,000 followers on WW Connect to live their best life, come out of the chronic illness closet, and embrace the hashtag #chronicallyfabulous. Also, while she was raised in what would be considered a secular home, she grew up kosher and attended Hebrew School. She spent five years in Rabbinical School.

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