Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann - OPTIONAL

Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann, 385 pages. Delacorte Press, 2021. $19.  

Content: Language: PG (2 swears); Mature Content: R; Violence: R.  



Esther is a thirteen year old who lives in Jerusalem during 65 CE with her family, led by her loving father, a high priest at the Jewish temple.  Esther’s brothers are drawn into different rebel groups who form to combat the Romans and their oppressive taxes and Esther’s father trades with a freedman Roman, so her Jewish family’s lives intertwine with the Romans throughout the climactic events leading to the war between the Jews and the Romans. Esther is betrothed to a blacksmith, but she doesn’t think he will approve of her curious love of learning.  As time passes, Esther’s family and her life will be turned upside down by the Romans and the impending war.  

As far as historical fiction, this is amazing. The setting and political explanation is ingrained throughout the story and I felt like I gained an understanding of a historical event that I knew little about. Esther is strong-willed, yet the men influence her day-to-day life, which was a fascinating role to consider.  This book covers Esther’s life from the time she is thirteen until she is nineteen.  Although Esther is a teen, this book has mature content, including threat of rape, physical abuse, decapitation, descriptive childbirth, murder, hate crimes, bullying and killing babies. Historically accurate depictions of Rome aren’t without mature content, so it’s not gratuitous but it makes for a dark edge throughout the story. 

Reviewer, C. Peterson   

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