The Matzah Ball

Mira: Harlequin. Sept. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780778311584. pap. $15.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
DEBUT Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is Jewish and the successful author of an impressive number of Christmas-themed romance novels, some of which have been turned into movies. Rachel also suffers from myalgic encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a frequently misunderstood and often mischaracterized condition. While working on the Hanukkah romance her editor wants, Rachel is stymied by writer’s block. She’s desperate for inspiration and decides to find it at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music festival hosted by her summer camp rival and first love Jacob Greenberg. Meltzer’s enemies-to-lovers debut romance hits all the high points often found in holiday romances—the love who got away, misunderstandings from past and present, humorous and heartfelt interactions that draw the couple back together, as well as interfering but well-meaning family members. The story also incorporates Jewish traditions in a way that will be accessible to many readers, and it does the same for ME/CFS. While some events are predictable, getting to the HEA is an enjoyable journey.
VERDICT A fun read and a good addition to holiday romance collections.
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