Lovers of immersive historical fiction need look no further than Rachel Kadish's gloriously complex new novel, The Weight of Ink. Two historians who find letters written 300 years ago in plague-ridden London by a blind rabbi slowly realize that they have a more electrifying discovery on their hands: the rabbi's scribe was a woman. As the historians' investigation accelerates, Kadish plunges the reader into the smoggy, socially circumscribed world of Ester Velasquez in 17th-century London. Ester has survived much tragedy in her young life and now quietly but steadfastly refuses to be squashed further.
Our editorial team picked The Weight of Ink not only as a best book of the month when it first came out, but as one of the best books of the year so far, a designation awarded to only 20 titles out of thousands.
But if you simply must read more than one historical novel this year (after The Weight of Ink, which you really should not miss), Kadish has a number of suggestions for you. We asked for a handful of recommendations, but she went above and beyond, demonstrating her boundless passion for historical literature.
Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere. She lives outside Boston and teaches in Lesley University's MFA Program in Creative Writing. (Photo by Kevin Day Photography)
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