Book Review: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Posted September 20, 2021 by WendyW in Blogging, Bloglinks, Book Review / 12 Comments

The Matzah Ball
The Matzah Ball
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Jean Meltzer
Publication Date September 28, 2021
Published by MIRA
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Genres: Fiction / Jewish, Fiction / Own Voices, Fiction / Romance / Holiday, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 400
Format: ARC


"The Matzah Ball had me laughing out all-around terrific read."—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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.

"A luminous celebration of all types of love, threaded with the message that everyone is worthy of it.”—Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of The Ex Talk

My Review:

The Matzah Ball, by Jean Meltzer, is a fun, romantic holiday book, that is different than the usual Christmas book we’re all used to.  The heroine, Rachel, has a chronic disease, but she doesn’t let it define her, and she’s one tough cookie.  

Rachel, the daughter of a famous Rabbi father, and her mother is a top fertility specialist.  As a good Jewish girl, she hides her love of Christmas and especially her job as a Chrismas Romance writer.  Only her best friend Mickey knows her love of everything Christmas and knows her pen name is Margot Cross, the famous Christmas Romance author.  

When her publisher tells her to write a Jewish holiday story, Rachel is distressed, as she loves Christmas and can’t find the magic in Jewish holidays that she finds in Christmas.  But, when she sees an ad for a huge Matzah Ball celebration, she hopes she can find some holiday magic at the ball.  The only problem is the event coordinator for the Matzah Ball is her old summer camp nemesis, Jacob Greenberg, who she hasn’t seen in over twenty years.  

The Matzah Ball is a nice holiday story that is so different from the usual Christmas stories, and I enjoyed reading about a different holiday tradition.  The book started off a bit slow, there were a lot of explanations about the Jewish holiday traditions of Hanukkah and Rachels’ chronic illness.  I didn’t know much about Hanukkah traditions, nor Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I appreciated the explanations, however, it did drag the story down a bit at the beginning.   

At first, I didn’t think much of Rachel and thought she was very defensive and somewhat whiney.  But, after a bit, she found her zip and her voice and she was fearless.  I enjoyed her growth during the story and found myself liking her and rooting for her happy ending.  

Jacob was perfect for Rachel, he knew how to deal with her illness and yet force her to see herself as a fearless woman who should demand more of herself.  

I recommend this delightful holiday story to anyone and everyone who loves a good holiday story.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

12 responses to “Book Review: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

  1. Great review Wendy. I also enjoyed this one and thought the addition of her illness added just a bit more to the story.

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    • This sounds like such a fun change of pace. You know, I have many Jewish friends who like to celebrate Christmas – the secular side of it. One even designs Christmas wreaths that she sells. So, the premise rings as very authentic and definitely intriguing. Wonderful review as always!