Rachel’s Promise

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Published by: Second Story Press
Release Date: September 16, 2013
Pages: 250
ISBN13: 978-1927583142


Inspired by true events and people, Rachel’s Promise looks at what it meant to be a stateless Jew in early 1900’s Shanghai, and at what young, daring Russians sacrificed for decent wages and hours as well as workplace safety standards.

It’s 1904 and Rachel and her family are fleeing the relentless antisemitism that destroyed their community. They take the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia to Vladivostok and board a steamer to Shanghai, where Jews are accepted without papers. Here, they endure difficult conditions, but Rachel, an aspiring writer, talks the editor of the Jewish newspaper, Israel’s Messenger, into giving her a job.

Meanwhile, Sergei is in St. Petersburg searching for a job to support his family, back in Kishinev. He begins work in a factory, a grueling and dangerous occupation that induces him to join rebelling socialist workers.

Through letters, Rachel and Sergei share their hopes of moving to America for better opportunities, for freedom, but tragedies in both of their lives could make this dream all but impossible.

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“Sanders vividly describes the conditions of the factory workers while contrasting their lives with the extravagance of the czar’s castle and those of diplomats in St. Petersburg…Recommended for all libraries.”
–Association of Jewish Libraries

Rachel’s Promise has been meticulously researched. All the grim details of the gruelling three thousand mile, three week train journey that Rachel’s family endures have been captured here…While Sergei questions his course of action in his dark and desperate circumstances, Rachel questions the place of religion in the wake of her father’s murder….While their struggles may sound bleak and depressing, Sanders’ characters are anything but…Both Rachel and Sergei’s lives are filled with a wide variety of characters that complete the picture of the world Sanders has created.”
–CM Magazine, Starred Review

“This is a wrenching story of a Russian-Jewish family fleeing the pogroms of the early 20th century…”
–Historical Novel Society


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