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Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann
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Rebel Daughter (edition 2021)

by Lori Banov Kaufmann (Author)

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483464,102 (3.71)None
A young woman survives the unthinkable in this stunning and emotionally satisfying tale of family, love, and resilience, set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Esther dreams of so much more than the marriage her parents have arranged to a prosperous silversmith. Always curious and eager to explore, she must accept the burden of being the dutiful daughter. Yet she is torn between her family responsibilities and her own desires. Meanwhile, the growing turmoil threatens to tear apart not only her beloved city, Jerusalem, but also her own family. As the streets turn into a bloody battleground between rebels and Romans, Esther's journey becomes one of survival. She remains fiercely devoted to her family, and braves famine, siege, and slavery to protect those she loves. This emotional and impassioned saga, based on real characters and meticulous research, seamlessly blends the fascinating story of the Jewish people with a timeless protagonist determined to take charge of her own life against all odds.… (more)
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**I was given an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Rebel Daughter starts off strong with heartfelt characters and careful attention to historical detail. It really felt like I’d been visiting 1st century Jerusalem every time I picked up this book! The best part is that all the details felt natural, time-traveling descriptions never bogged down the plot or emotional depth of scenes. The story is of Esther, the daughter of a priest, worries for her marriage prospects and for her family as tensions erupt in her home between the Jewish people and their Roman conquerors. As war erupts, Esther struggles not only to keep it together but also to keep her family together. A story where people and friendships are not as they seem, Rebel Daughter bears witness to all the strong women who have shaped and desperately survived history.

My only critique is that there a couple jarring time-jumps. One between chapters is excusable and between chapters can be a murky passage of time, but the one that happens between mere paragraphs not demarcated in any way ruined the immersion for me. It took several pages to re-adjust back to the plot. I realize that the time jumps probably fit with a historical timeline, but it could have been padded or headlined for a smoother flow of the story. ( )
  Nikki_Sojkowski | Aug 26, 2021 |
Though increasing unrest in first-century Jerusalem explodes into a deadly Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, a young Jewish woman manages to survive in Rebel Daughter by author Lori Banov Kaufmann.

All right, so can I admit I got an inaccurate impression of what this story would be? The title (which I now don't think fits the novel well) and the woman holding a weapon on the cover gave me the expectation of a heroine joining in physical combat with the rebels. That isn't what happens. And, no, I didn't read the whole blurb beforehand (so many book blurbs give away too much), but the blurb's first paragraph mentioning a "satisfying tale of...forbidden love" made me think this novel would be full of romance. It isn't.

But it's a gritty tale of family and survival that does include a love story, and I did find the read satisfying, even if that feeling didn't kick in for me until around the last third or quarter.

This novel based on real people is chock-full of calamity: family conflict and tragedy; starvation; the gory carnage of war; slavery and the physical, verbal, and sexual abuse that goes along with it... It wasn't the amount of heavy content that made me unable to warm to most of the read, though; it was the fact that I found the heroine to be prickly, petulant, and pretty self-centered. There's also some profanity and crude references to male and female privates (that only surprised me because the book was presented to me as Christian Fiction, which I wouldn't say it is), and the writing style and pacing had a choppy feel to me in various places.

Nevertheless, I did eventually gain respect for the heroine as she grew up and made some hard, fierce decisions in devastating times. And even though the book isn't what I was expecting, this historical fiction lover appreciates reading about people and events (particularly religious ones) from different kinds of angles. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Apr 20, 2021 |
Esther is the young woman at the center of this story but it’s really the tale of thousands. She is a just a girl really, dreaming of her future. Feeling things she doesn’t understand for for different men and fearing what the Romans are bringing to her world. When her parents bring her a husband she is not happy with the choice but she has little power. But before her life becomes the boring world she fears it implodes and she finds herself taken captive and a Roman slave.

But Esther is stronger than she ever knew and while she and her younger brother are in an untenable position she knows that she will find a way out for both of them. It’s thanks to her character and faith that she manages to seek out both freedom and love and live the live she is supposed to live.

Rebel Daughter is based in history and the book was a fascinating read. The characters were all very interesting and unique. The conquerors were not portrayed as completely evil as they like all peoples are made up of all types from the worst to those just trying to survive.

I very much enjoyed this novel, even though it had difficult passages at times. The over arching plot was complex and detailed and the subplots wove in beautifully. A well written book about a complicated time. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Apr 12, 2021 |
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A young woman survives the unthinkable in this stunning and emotionally satisfying tale of family, love, and resilience, set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Esther dreams of so much more than the marriage her parents have arranged to a prosperous silversmith. Always curious and eager to explore, she must accept the burden of being the dutiful daughter. Yet she is torn between her family responsibilities and her own desires. Meanwhile, the growing turmoil threatens to tear apart not only her beloved city, Jerusalem, but also her own family. As the streets turn into a bloody battleground between rebels and Romans, Esther's journey becomes one of survival. She remains fiercely devoted to her family, and braves famine, siege, and slavery to protect those she loves. This emotional and impassioned saga, based on real characters and meticulous research, seamlessly blends the fascinating story of the Jewish people with a timeless protagonist determined to take charge of her own life against all odds.

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