Mom recommended this book a while ago. She and Dad listened to it on the way to my house in Maryland once. She loved it; Dad wanted to know why nothing was happening. As is usual when it comes to books, I’m with Mom on this one.

The story is of Hannah, a book conservator, who gets a middle of the night call asking her to work on a 500 year old Jewish Haggadah, a prayer book for Passover. The novel interweaves her story with the stories of the women who cared for the book before her – the young woman who saves the book while she delivers her brother’s son in a cave, the artist who was sold into slaver yet painted the beautiful illuminations, the old woman who finds the book hidden in a library after fleeing for her life during the years of the Nazi rise. The history is rich in the book’s pages and in the telling of this tale (based on the true story of a Haggadah found in Sarajevo).

Illumination from the Sarajevo Haggadah

I highly recommend the book for anyone who values history, who appreciates the way life can weave people together, who understands the value of books as historical and cultural texts, and/ or who know the preciousness of a family Haggadah. It’s a really lovely read.

Cover of The People of the BookThe People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Also, I was privileged to be asked to guest post for my friend Shawn Smucker at his amazing blog. If you have a moment, please stop by and visit.