Rachel’s Secret

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Published by: Second Story Press
Release Date: April 16, 2012
Pages: 256
ISBN13: 978-1926920375


Inspired by true events, Rachel’s Secret, tells the little-known story of the Kishinev Pogrom, where Jews and Russians lived amiably amongst one another for decades, until an antisemitic newspaper editor prints lies and propaganda, kindling unspeakable violence.

1903 Kishinev, Russia. Rachel, a 14 year-old Jew, wants more from life than the expected role of wife and mother. She longs to be a writer, but her world and dreams are upended when her friend, Mikhail, a Russian boy, is killed The local newspaper prints lies and anti-Jewish propaganda, blaming Jews for the crime. Rachel, who witnessed the murder, must keep the attacker’s identity a secret. Because he is a policeman and the police openly despise Jews.

The fraudulent headlines about this crime ignite a pogrom (massacre) against the Jews on Easter weekend, lasting three days and destroying the Jewish community. When the violence finally ends, Rachel discovers the person she loves most is dead and her home has been ruined. As she struggles to survive the aftermath of the riots, support comes from someone totally unexpected—Sergei—a Russian boy who was a friend of Mikhail’s.

Despite the obstacles between them, Rachel and Sergei find comfort in their growing bond, one of the few signs of goodness and hope in a time of chaos and violence.

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“In an artful way throughout this absorbing, chilling tale, characters wonder what can stop the tragedy of hatred from overcoming community, a question that will prompt readers to wonder the same.”
—Booklist, Starred Review

“Critical for its underexplored subject.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Rachel’s Secret effectively uses the historical record to create a compelling image of this troubled period, making meaningful points about the role of hatred and hope in society—how young people can break free from the shackles of tradition.”
—iTunes (Book of the Week, May 10, 2012)


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