Monday, October 8, 2012


Taken from the heart of the Talmud, a name - Rav Hisda's daughter was also the wife of well known, scholarly rabbis. Author Maggie Anton takes the name of the most mentioned female from the Hebrew text and weaves a wonderful historical novel about Hisdadukh (Persian for Hisda's daughter), and her thirst for knowledge in 3rd century Persian Babylonian society that did not look favorably upon female Torah scholars.   

From Hisdadukh's (Dada) first person perspective the reader gleans her love of knowledge and quest to escape household chores and instead study at her Father's school where he molds the minds of young scholars. One of the most fascinating characteristics of this book is how young Dada's becomes something of an enchantress or spell maker, using charms to protect patrons who purchase her work. Most importantly, however, it is a story of the heart, a timeless book of a girl struggling to define herself in a society that assigns traditional roles to both males and females. The reader sees a girl grow up and take charge of her life, from travels, to sorrow, joy to even a career, Hisdadukh becomes a woman who walks toward her destiny instead of being carried by fate. 

This is the first of two books that Anton is writing in the series and if the second book is half as intriguing as the first it will be another great read. For anyone who enjoys historical fiction with heart, that is well written, and a historical time period that seems to be little written about then this book is an excellent choice!