By: Susan Sofayov
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: January 2018
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Julie Wasserman struggles to go on with her life after the devastating loss of her twin brother in an automobile accident. Will exotic travel and a new love help her resolve her “survivor's guilt” and move on with her life?
As Jerusalem Stone opens, we’re taken to a beautiful beach on an island in Thailand where we meet Julie Wasserman. Julie is a young woman desperately searching for something – something to release her from the pain of missing her beloved brother Jack. Julie is convinced that she is the reason Jack is dead and she can’t forgive herself. She has traveled to Thailand because it was a place Jack always wanted to visit and she hopes that she might find a bit of peace traveling to the exotic location.
As Julie sits on the gorgeous beach, watching other people enjoy the glorious day, she is approached by a man she assumes is a beach bum. With a dark tan, a backpack, and his brown hair falling below his shoulders in a tangle of dreadlocks, he certainly gives off the air of somebody who lives on the beach. But it’s his piercing eyes and bright smile that really catches Julie’s attention. The young man introduces himself as Avi Gold, and he’s definitely not shy as he quickly works his way onto Julie’s mat.
Author Susan Sofayov set the scene perfectly when the story opened as I was instantly transported to that beautiful beach, listening to the splash of the waves along with Julie. The street scenes, the jungle trip, the visit to Israel – these locations all came to life with the guidance of Sofayov’s pen. The author also does a nice job of building her characters into believable people with real-life struggles. It’s easy to feel Julie’s pain at the loss of her brother, and her conflicted emotions when she wants to love Avi but is afraid to let go of her guilt. There were also numerous interesting discussions between Julie and Avi about life, religion and whether there is such a thing as bashert. The one criticism is that as the story progressed, Julie continued to be paralyzed by her guilt and she became somewhat annoying. She was visiting amazing places in Israel with a wonderful man who was deeply in love with her and still her mind kept going to her brother. I found myself starting to wonder how Avi could really love Julie if she could not let go of her pain. Other than this minor point, the story was quite enjoyable, and I look forward to reading more from Susan Sofayov.
Quill says: Jerusalem Stone is a heartfelt and engaging story about one woman’s struggle to let go of her guilt and move on with her life and new love. For more information on Jerusalem Stone, please visit the author's website at: www.susansofayov.com