First Chapter Review: Next Year in Jerusalem! by Barbara Becker Holstein
This is a romance, mystery and spiritual awakening novel by positive psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. I became familiar with Holstein's work when I read her book for girls, The Truth: I'm a Girl, I'm Smart and I Know Everything. I read the sequel to that book, in addition to other books Holstein had written for women. She submitted the first chapter of Next Year In Jerusalem! for me to review.
BLURB: Natalie and Maggie, best friends since college, find themselves in the romantic, mystical and intriguing city of Jerusalem when Natalie's husband, David, takes a short sabbatical there.
The appearance of Jack, a diamond dealer and Natalie's old boyfriend from college, creates tension and arousal for Natalie. Will she do things she will come to regret? Maggie meets Jack's friend: tall, dark and handsome. What about her boyfriend back home?
Meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Chaya Sarah soon captivates both women with spiritual experiences. However, her actions and secrecy about herself baffle them, and they become concerned that Chaya Sarah may be involved in more than meets the eye. The mystical energy of Jerusalem along with the reality of terrorism compounds an already intense experience for both women.
COVER: I love everything about this cover. The two women, the setting, and the color scheme. The rich burgundy color is a beautiful contrast against the warm beige of the buildings and the pale sky. The gold dome attracts the eye.
FIRST CHAPTER: Natalie has the next four weeks off to spend in Israel. She feels her freedom already. A headline from the New York Times catches her eye. The article draws Natalie into the past and the mystery that surrounds it.
KEEP READING: Definitely. There's a fair amount of mystery and intrigue in this first chapter. The chapter opens with Natalie thrilled to be free, but we don't know what that means. Free from her daily life? Free from her job? Free from her husband? Free from all three? So, the reader is enticed to continue. Though the chapter is short, it's filled with important details. The article on terrorists Natalie reads in the paper reminds her of her past: college, her friends, and former boyfriends. Her eagerness over traveling to Israel is slightly tempered by the anxiety over her safety while there, but she is determined to go.
Other than an overabundance of exclamation points, I love the style of this first chapter and want to know what happens next.