Hope Friis leads a normal life for any teenager living in Berkeley, California in the 1960s: she hangs out with friends, spends time with her family, and dreams of winning a singing competition and college scholarship despite her pronounced stutter. It seems like she has everything under control, until she takes part in the Free Speech movement that engulfs the city—a choice that could crush her chance of competing.
Feeling trapped, she is visited by the mysterious Serakh, a woman from another time who desperately needs Hope’s help. By using her grandmother’s magical prayer shawl, Hope travels with Serakh to eleventh-century Paris where she has only nine days to solve a mystery that could have deadly consequences. To save the life of an innocent child, Hope must overcome her fears and discover the one thing she can’t find: her voice.
In her companion novel to Blue Thread, award-winning author Ruth Tenzer Feldman weaves past and present together to create a one-of-a-kind story of friendship, family, strength, and survival.
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This is a lovely coming of age novel that takes place during two Hanukkah celebrations almost a thousand years apart. One thread takes place in Berkeley in 1964, during the Free Speech Movement. The other takes place in the Jewish quarter of Paris in the Middle Ages. Hope, is a shy teenager with a stutter who goes to Berkeley High, and is slowly recovering after her older sister gave her LSD, leaving her with both external and internal scars. She meets a Jewish woman from the past who leads her on a journey through time where she learns she has a heroic role to play, to save a child doomed as a result of a terrible vow.
The story is riveting; the two periods intertwine seamlessly and, speaking as someone who was arrested in the Free Speech Movement, the Berkeley sections feel true and authentic. In this gripping tale, Hope must conquer her fears and make difficult decisions in both worlds.
–Margot Adler, journalist and author of Drawing Down the Moon and Heretic’s Heart
“Thank you, Ruth Tenzer Feldman for gracefully transporting me to both 1964 and 1099, for an equal part brave and tender heroine who rises up to meet unthinkable challenges and finds out she’s made of strong and beautiful stuff. Reading this book felt like looking at a night sky full of stars and having a wise someone connect the bright spots for me, revealing constellations rich with story, myth, and magic. Once I entered this world, I found it hard to leave. I had to find out what happened next. The Ninth Day took me a mere three days to devour.
–Jen Violi, author of Putting Makeup on Dead People
“In The Ninth Day, Oregon Book Award winner Ruth Tenzer Feldman offers fans of time-slip fantasies an intriguing journey through the olam, a Hebrew word meaning both “universe” and “forever.” Led by a spiritual being actually named in the Bible, sixteen-year-old Miriam Hope navigates a challenging nine days as Feldman cleverly links the student free speech uprisings of 1964 Berkeley and a horrifying incident during the 11th Century Crusades, managing this by connecting the chemistry of LSD and the rye-rotting fungus of ergot, prevalent in medieval times. Although technically a fantasy, The Ninth Day must surely qualify as historical fiction for the author’s meticulous research into both sets of fascinating events.”
–Linda Crew, author of A Heart for Any Fate
“As Miriam Hope discovers that the past and the present are intertwined, she also discovers her own voice and realizes she can choose her future. The Ninth Day is a historical coming of age story that reminds us all of the power of family, love and mystery.”
–Maureen McQuerry, the author of The Peculiars
“This fascinating story, filled with history and science, seems well researched and the author’s treatment of the characters’ interrelationships is ingenious and impressive. The characters are believable and the reader is moved to both tears and laughter. The book is ambitious…[t]his densely plotted, intriguing, well-written novel is a wonderful read.”
–The Jewish Book Council