Published June 6, 2017 Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt
“Set in London of the 1660’s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect; Ester Valasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of 17th century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project; to determine the identity of the documents scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”
This book! Spoiler alert- I loved it. Packed full of intrigue, history, and yes even a bit of 17th century feminism-Kadish doesn’t disappoint with this historical fiction! At a whopping 560 pages, this is not a one you’ll be able to read quickly! I have used the word “substantial” in describing this one on my Instagram post. I think that is an accurate report. The book is heavy on history and goes into an area that is rarely written of in fiction titles. I enjoyed learning about the Jewish history of this time period in England, and some very influential intellectuals, who have influenced some major names in today’s world of intellect, (I am one of those people who stop reading and research this or that-which leads to more than I asked for.) Topics covered range from the plague to the great fire. Social nonconformity and heretics. The writing style is unique, poetic but not so that you lose the story fluidity.
Who is this book for? A true historical fiction lover, and self-described thinkers! The Weight of Ink is easily a five star read and my first five star of 2017!