All Other Nights

All Other Nights

3.6 33
by Dara Horn, William Dufris
     
 

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“Slam-bang... superb... masterful... gripping... marvelous.”—Washington PostHow is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union Army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover, 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

Overview

“Slam-bang... superb... masterful... gripping... marvelous.”—Washington PostHow is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union Army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover, 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. After this harrowing mission, Jacob is recruited to pursue another enemy agent—this time not to murder the spy, but to marry her. Based on real historical figures, this eagerly awaited novel from award-winning author Dara Horn delivers multilayered, page-turning storytelling at its best.

Editorial Reviews

Wendy Smith
In the slam-bang opening pages of her superb third novel, Dara Horn masterfully establishes both a gripping plot premise and a fascinatingly conflicted protagonist. She sends Jacob roaming across a war-torn landscape to encounter a marvelous variety of characters, each imagined with empathy and depth. The relatively conventional storytelling here is quite different from the kaleidoscopic narrative techniques Horn employed in her previous books, In the Image and The World to Come, but her scope is just as ambitious, her talents as prodigious as ever.
—The Washington Post
Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
A love story…replete with intercepted letters, fantastic coincidences and miraculous escapes. These implausible twists, in Horn's skillful hands, are not only forgivable—they're delicious.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

A Civil War spy page-turner meets an exploration of race and religion in 19th-century America in Horn's enthralling latest. Jacob Rappaport, the 19-year-old scion of a wealthy Jewish import-export family, flees home and enlists in the Union army to avoid an arranged marriage. When his superiors discover his unique connections, he is sent on espionage missions that reveal an American Jewish population divided by the Mason-Dixon line, but united by business, religious and family ties. After being sent to assassinate his uncle in New Orleans on Passover, Jacob's next assignment proves even more daunting: marry the feisty Confederate spy Eugenia Levy. What starts out as a dangerous game for both Jacob and Eugenia ends up being a genuine romance, fraught with the potential for peril, betrayal, tragedy and redemption. Horn propels the love story at a thriller's pace; the mix of love and loyalty played out in a divided America is sublime. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

Sometimes it only takes one night to change lives forever, often in ways that people only appreciate when reflecting from the distance of time. Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, will forever ponder the age-old question asked around the Seder table: How is tonight different from all other nights? On Passover 1862, Jacob is ordered by a Union commander to kill his uncle (who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln), and this particular evening changes forever his view of religious tradition, love, and integrity. Horn, the award-winning author of The World To Come, has written a stunning historical novel that will challenge readers' preconceptions as they learn about the role of Jewish Americans during the Civil War. Her tale of Confederate Hebrew spies skillfully puts a new spin on a time period that has been researched and written about extensively. This timely book, coming on Lincoln's bicentennial year, is recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/08.]
—Marike Zemke

Kirkus Reviews
Horn (The World to Come, 2006, etc.) details the adventures of a young Jewish spy for the Union. In the hours before Passover 1862, 19-year-old Jacob Rappaport emerges from a smuggler's barrel onto the New Orleans waterfront. The son of a wealthy New York merchant, he joined the Union Army to avoid an arranged marriage and has been sent South to kill his Uncle Harry, suspected (rightly) of planning to assassinate Lincoln. Jacob slips poison into his uncle's seder wine, and Harry expires spectacularly, vomiting black bile onto the silver trays. Regrettably, this is the most dramatic moment in the novel. Jacob's next assignment is to infiltrate a Virginia household and marry beautiful Rebel spy Eugenia Levy. Assisted by her three sisters, she's passing on military secrets blabbed by a Union officer too pompous to realize "that ladies also have brains." Horn's Dan Brown-like fascination with codes and passwords is unlikely to be shared by readers, nor is the romance terribly compelling. Jacob falls for Eugenia and succeeds in marrying her, but his ambivalent vacillations between shame and bravado make him a weak hero. Eventually the sisters are arrested and Eugenia is reported dead: more shame for Jacob, who has now betrayed his wife as well as killed his uncle. His mission is over, but the novel is only half finished. Jacob returns to the South as a regular soldier-primarily, one suspects, so Horn can work Grant's order to expel Jews into the plot. Crippled and partially blinded in an accident, Jacob volunteers for one last mission, which involves gaining the trust of Judah Benjamin, the Jewish brains behind the Confederacy in Richmond. Two big questions remain: Is Eugenia still alive? WillJacob be a fool for love? Make that three: Does anyone care?Turgid and meandering. Author events in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia
From the Publisher
"With only the inflections of his voice, Dufris makes real the cacophony of battle, the sounds of a slave auction, and the refined tones of a Southern drawing room." —AudioFile
Anne Roiphe
“A tale of adventure...betrayal and love, dignity and loss, that takes the breath away and makes the heart pound.”
Booklist
“Starred Review: A triumph.”
The Los Angeles Times
“Vibrant and compelling.”
The Washington Post
“Slam-bang... superb...a gripping plot premise and a fascinatingly conflicted protagonist. …a marvelous variety of characters, each imagined with empathy and depth.”
New York Times Book Review
“Editor’s Choice: Engrossing . . . delicious.”
Wall Street Journal
“Rare and memorable.”
Los Angeles Times
“Vibrant and compelling.”
The Wall Street Journal
“An enjoyably fast-paced amalgam of historical romance, spy novel and political thriller . . . . rare and memorable.”
The New York Post
“Stellar. . . . the propulsive, suspenseful narrative of an espionage thriller, [and] the larger moral dilemmas Horn weaves into an epic.”
The Baltimore Sun
For a writer as young as Horn to be compared with Conrad shows what kind of league she's playing in.
The Forward
Riveting…written in meticulous but energetic prose…Horn's most accomplished novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400142125
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Edition description:
Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Anne Roiphe
A tale of adventure...betrayal and love, dignity and loss, that takes the breath away and makes the heart pound.
From the Publisher
"With only the inflections of his voice, Dufris makes real the cacophony of battle, the sounds of a slave auction, and the refined tones of a Southern drawing room." —-AudioFile

Meet the Author

Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, is one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists" and the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.

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All Other Nights 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
pjpick More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars. I enjoy Civil War fiction and found this one somewhat unique compared to other CW novels I've read. It was interesting to hear the Jewish perspective of a story. I frequently waffled between liking and disliking Jacob Rappaport. At times he was strong and others he was easily influenced. The story was warranting a strong 4 stars for me but I eventually had to give it less. Although I found the espionage part of the novel interesting and tense, I thought the author did not do a strong job in establishing the relationship between Jacob and Jeannie. I never really got a good feeling of the ties between them. Also, the ending was a little anti-climatic. It was a quick blip and the story was over. I can't believe the editors didn't ask for a stronger ending. At any rate, still an interesting story and I did whiz through it fairly quickly.
KarenS More than 1 year ago
If you like historical novels, spy thrillers, and love stories, this well-researched book is for you. A Jewish Union spy goes undercover in the South and is faced with a multitude of moral dilemmas. The plot is fast moving and interesting, and the unusual characters are based on real people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is the Civil War and a young Northern Jewish man enlists with the Union and is engaged as a spy in the South with ensuing moral dilemmas. The writing is excellent. I will be discussing this in my book group, and I can't wait. Highly recommended.
Queen-Esther More than 1 year ago
Everyone in our synagogue book group agreed that this book was extremely well researched and beautifully written, a real page turner. Dara Horn's book is much more than just a love story, a historical novel or a spy thriller. The characters grow in the course of the story and we felt both empathy for and revulsion at most of them. Although this book would be enjoyable for any audience, we felt that there were nuances and sub-texts that were especially meaningful to Jewish readers...from the title of the book to Judah P. Benjamin's comments about his role in the Confederacy, and much more.
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joansie More than 1 year ago
Were it not for the fact that Dara Horn is not a particularly subtle writer, I would think she was doing a Dorian Grey number on Jacob Rappaport, her protagonist. He gets uglier as the novel progresses. I learned a number of interesting facts about the Civil War, and enjoyed the personal histories of some of the major figures of the time. Ms Horn has some talent as a story teller---she moves the action along quite nicely. The palindromic Rose is very amusing. But Ms Horn's writing is irritatingly childish---she would benefit from the use of a thesaurus. Edwin Booth's cheeks are "gorgeous"? Ms Horn is entranced with curly dark hair, especially "errant" curls. Errant curls flop around throughout. Maybe she needs a better editor, or maybe she has a good editor but doesn't listen to him/her. In any case, her publisher should hold her to a higher standard of writing---writing sophisticated to match up with her plot, which was pretty good, even if I did think Jacob was despicable.
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aj123 More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. I loved all the twists and turns Dara Horn's imagination brought to the story. A great gift!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This historical novel by Dara Horn is based on events of the Civil War, and the roles played by Jews during this intense period. The title drew me with the traditional words "All other nights", commemorative of the Jewish holiday of Passover, when the four questions of the seder ask "Why, on all other nights. . ." Early on in this tale, the placement and timing of these questions evolve into a moment which defines the book's direction, as it precludes turning back for the main character, Jacob. Jacob's reaction to authority is an issue of introspect, as he finds himself in circumstances unable to say no, perhaps in possession of a mechanical tendency to follow the law of authority. When conscripted as a spy, he is not fully in possession of the option to defer. This stands out as a question we must all meet at some point in our lives in connection with the direction of our lives, though of decisions less pivotal. The journey leads Jacob to the southern states, to the home of a man with 4 extraordinary daughters believed to be confederate spies. These characters lead us into a whimsical aspect of the story and at one point, at least, I was enthralled and beyond eager to find what surprise might be lingering ahead as it provided the book with a magical quality, unexpected and relished. The book was romance, to a small degree, but the leading theme seems innate in historic trappings of the era.
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