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Praise for "An Unorthodox Romance"
What happens at the intersection of ambition and obligation? And which do we trust: The heart or our intellect? With An Unorthodox Romance, Brenda Barrie continues her fearless and compassionate exploration of the lives of people of faith. Marnie Holland immediately earns her place alongside Tovah Feldner and Barrie's other amazing and always believable characters; individuals who manage their way through the complications of life, using all that has been given them and nothing more powerful than their decency and their truth. This memorable page-turner will linger in your imagination for a long, long time.
- David Haynes, author of A Star In The Face Of The Sky
Brenda Barrie's latest book takes you into the world of Rabbi Marnie Holland, a Reform rabbi teaching at the modern University of Judaism in the 1990s, but also teaching at a very traditional Yeshiva, both in L.A. In addition to straddling the many communal lines in Judaism, An Unorthodox Romance includes a duplicitous ex-husband and an ex-rock star turned rabbi. Unorthodox is the right word for this beguiling book. The setting in Israel is so dynamic you feel as though you are there. To me, Brenda Barrie is the Amy Tan of the Jewish world, current and historical.
Barrie ensures we root for Marnie, whose intelligence level is genius, although that is no help in certain difficult life choices until she meets Eli, an almost equally complex man who shows her patience and love. With Eli she learns it's never too late to start a new life.
- Janet Simcic, author of The Man at the Caffé Farnese and An American Chick's Guide to Italy
Brenda Barrie's book An Unorthodox Romance, reminded me of Carol Shields' novel The Republic of Love. It is a story of second chances at life and love in a setting - in this case Israel, in Carol's book Winnipeg, Manitoba - that may not at first appear to lend itself to romance. This is a satisfying book, in which secrets are given up in order to make room for abundant life.
- Anne (Shields) Giardini, author of The Sad Truth About Happiness: A Novel
An Unorthodox Romance is a beautifully told story about facing one's fears and having the courage to let go of the past. Marnie had written herself off of ever being able to love again after a disastrous first marriage. But through the process of cutting the final ties to that relationship, she is not only able to love again but allows herself to feel worthy of being adored. Set in Israel in the late 1990s, Barrie's novel interweaves an ultra-orthodox community with a Reform rabbinical conference through strong and engaging characters. Marnie's difficulties in forgiving herself for the choices she's made will resonate with anyone who has struggled to let go of something in their past that holds them back."
- Sidura Ludwig, writing teacher and author of the novel Holding My Breath