Finalist in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Religious Books Category
Marcus uses his background and understanding of the human condition - and his storytelling skills - to delve deeply into the complex emotions and struggles of an observant teenager who is on the brink of womanhood. He brings readers a perceptive and unforgettable story of how a young woman faces the clashes between her faith, freedom of thought, and observing the traditions she loves. He portrays Shoshana's difficult choices with charm, humor, understanding, and dignity - all contributing to her spiritual growth, and the power of the story.
SHOSHANA'S SONG is a captivating, sensitive, and meaningful coming of age story about feminist teenager Shoshana Rosen, raised in a strict Orthodox Jewish home, who is determined to observe all the sacred traditions of her faith - but wants the independence needed to have a career and choose her own husband. Shoshana's life drastically changes when she rejects her father's wishes for an arranged marriage, and questions why she must decide between her love of Judaism, and her dream to pursue a college education and professional fulfillment. She makes the bold and painful decision to leave her home and community in New York and move to Chicago, where she rents an apartment with two young women. One of her roommates, Kate Shannon - an Irish Catholic - joins Shoshana on her journey, and shares her search for intellectual freedom, a successful career, happiness, love and marriage - balanced with the intense desire to keep their respective faiths and traditions. But she also rejects the concept of arranged marriages and the teachings that would restrict her thirst for knowledge.
Review from Mary Lou Henneman, "Congregational Libraries Today," Church and Synagogue Library Association, February 2013 "This masterfully told coming-of-age story follows Shoshana as she matures both intellectually and spiritually...Jerry Marcus interweaves discussions of faith, marriage, intellectual freedom, and the roles of women throughout their lives. Marcus's characters get involved in lively and thought-provoking debates. Shoshana's Song is a fantastic crossover book for young adults and adults. It will help both young and mature readers explore how women gain strength in their faith journey."
Review from Dr. Yaakov Fogelman, founder and director of TOP, The Torah Outreach Program (Jerusalem, Israel), January 7, 2013. Jerry Marcus has, in previous books, explored in great depth, the lives of self proclaimed religious leaders, who were basically phony exploiters, looking for their own power and fame. In Shoshana's Song, the heroine, Shoshana Rosen, is an outstanding graduate of a Beit Yakov seminary; she is expected by her rabbis, parents and community to marry early to a great Talmudic scholar, and totally support his career. She is defiant of the demands to ignore her own commitment to torah scholarship and finally runs off to Chicago, where she lives with a pious Catholic girl who has similar problems of conflict between her deep involvement in her faith, together with a deep and questioning humanistic mind. While a good example of the un-crushable human spirit of a true devotee of our tradition, Marcus also puts [Shoshana's] tale in a universal cabalistic setting, where pious people are aligned with cabalistic forces in the world, e.g. the laughing angels, who treat all life and human aspirations as a tragic joke and the righteous ones, whose views of good only seemed to give aid and comfort to the powerful and rich..."
Paperback . 272pp . $19.00 . ISBN 978-0941394-08-6
SHIPPING IS FREE TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES
Boro Park, Brooklyn
"At the age of fourteen, I was considered a very good student at the yeshiva high school I attended. Beth Jacob was an all-girls school. I was comfortable there. It was a time in my life that I thought everything was possible. My classmates and I were eager for the beginning of each day. We were constantly dreaming about our futures, seeing our lives from one reality to the next.
"Our dreams allowed us to entertain possibilities that were not always encouraged by our teachers or parents. Like many young women our age, we tried to come to terms with our faith and our developing sexuality. Our private discussions before classes and during lunch allowed us to be heard in an environment where our opinions were valued. At least that was true for now. Soon many of us would become victims to all those who had plans for our futures. Not the normal desires parents have for their children, but the conditional rewards for observing the commandments and rituals. By the time we reached the ages of sixteen and seventeen, many of us were exposed to the matchmaker and all that went along with a tradition we were expected to follow without question.
"Many of my friends and classmates eagerly looked forward to this tradition, and loved the idea of everything being planned for them. My best friend Malka and I found it stifling and disheartening. We did not look forward to a sheltered existence that allowed no breathing room for our own desires and needs. We were not willing to masquerade in wedding gowns with yeshiva boys at our side who appeared to know little about real life decisions and choices. To be under their authority was something we would not tolerate. "
Copyright (c) 2012 by Jerry Marcus. All rights reserved by Brittany Publications, Ltd.
ABOUT THE BOOK COVER DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION FOR SHOSHANA'S SONG
When designing the cover for Shoshana’s Song, Shawn Biner (Biner Design) was meticulous in representing the coming of age story of Shoshana Rosen. The dark blue of the sky represents the way Shoshana feels about the prospect of an arranged marriage - and her fear of spending a lifetime under the authority of a husband who may not recognize her desires for a fulfilling career and to contribute to society as a whole. The books she tightly holds in her arms are symbolic or her thirst for knowledge about Shoshana's faith, as well as the world around her. In the dimly lit distance is a street from Shoshana's neighborhood, representing her foundation of faith and community, both of which are important to her. The stained glass window in the synagogue glows, just like the strong faith of her ancestors’ - represented by the Star of David - glows within her soul. Shoshana’s face is illuminated by the light of the moon, representing her spirituality. And her expression is one of quiet determination, which is guided throughout the story by Shoshana's heroine, the legendary Chana Rochel. (Biner Design is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.)
The illustrations for this dramatic book cover were created by Shawn Costello, an illustrator, portrait artist, and landscape painter, who also teachers art workshops and classes. As shown in her portrait of Shoshana, Shawn captured an impression of this young woman that conveys emotion and her inner spirit. Shawn has a BFA from the Maryland Institute of Art and received her Masters Degree in Art Education from Towson University near Baltimore. She also studied at the Schuler School of Fine Art and with portrait artist, Daniel Green, and is a member of the Portrait Society of America. Shawn lives and paints in Maryland and Downeast Maine. Her outstanding landscapes and portraits may be seen at www.shawncostello.com.
ENJOY OTHER NOVELS BY ACCLAIMED AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR JERRY MARCUS
DAUGHTERS OF GOD
WINNER OF THE 2018 NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS IN THE PHILOSOPHY CATEGORY
Reader Comments from Amazon.com (2018-19):
"I loved the suspense and the characters. The story line drew me in right away and held me. I always love a book that takes me right into it and this was a great book to curl up and read and get lost in for hours...I have read other books by this author and I have found each and every one of them immensely enjoyable!"
"So wonderful a read! So much happening! I didn't want it to end!"
"The characters of the book are well defined to allow my imagination to see them. Just when I thought I had the whole thing figured out, the twist sent me into another direction. A great who-done it."
BROKEN TRUST - THE MURDER OF BASKETBALL STAR JACK MOLINAS
"Jack would have loved how you portrayed him." Bill Tosheff, 1951-52 NBA Co-Rookie of the Year
"Great book..." Sam Amico, Editor and Senior Writer, ProBasketballNews.com
"Besides writing a gripping tale of a powerful, rich, highly competitive industry, Marcus delivers a high-impact, no holds barred, picture of modern social
establishments - both religious and secular..." Rabbi Yaakov Fogelman, Torah Outreach Program, Jerusalem, Israel
THE LAST POPE
"A creative and provocative...suspense-filled novel." The Chicago Tribune
"A wonderful premise...a great plot." Naples Daily News, Florida
"Prophetic...Gripping...and Enlightening." Rabbi Yaakov Fogelman, Torah Outreach Program, Jerusalem, Israel
"An intriguing story...An intellectual thriller." Marquee, San Diego
"A provocative tale that kindled my imagination..." Mary Harris, Minister, United Church of Christ, Boonville, Missouri
Chicago Columnist ANNE GERBER said Marcus' 1997 book has a "gripping premise"
and compared it to The DaVinci Code, which was published AFTER The Last Pope.
THE SALVATION PEDDLER
"A master of the suspense novel." Abilene Reporter-News, Texas
"I enjoyed The Salvation Peddler." President Bill Clinton
ABRAHAM ISAAC, JACOB and ZEV
"A significant and moving novel...An important addition to books about the Holocaust and Jewish people." American Jewish Congress
"Original and compelling." The Chicago Tribune
"An extraordinary book...that deals with the agony of morals." Dorothy Fuldheim, News Analyst, Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Company