September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can shake a stick at. If it wasn't Rosh Hashanah, then it was Yom Kippur, and if it wasn't Yom Kippur, it was the Sabbath. But temple's good for some things. It gives him lots of time to daydream about a beautiful but inaccessible Gentile girl named Emaline. And if she isn't on his mind, then he's thinking about his music and imagining himself playing the cello with the New York Philharmonic. Yup, music is definitely his ticket out of this remote whistle-stop townhe doesn't want to be stuck here one more minute. But he doesn't realize exactly how stuck he is until Emaline's little sister Daisy goes missing and he and his family are accused of killing her for a blood sacrifice.
Blood Liewas inspired by a real blood libel that took place when a small girl disappeared from Massena, New York, in 1928, and an innocent Jewish boy was called a murderer.
Shirley Reva Vernick's interviews and feature articles have appeared inCosmopolitan,Good Housekeeping,Ladies' Home Journal, and national newspapers. She also runs a popular storytelling website, www.storybee.org, which is used in schools and libraries all over the world. Shirley grew up in the town where the blood libel happened, as did her father, whose family was directly victimized by it.
About the Author
Shirley Reva Vernick’s interviews and feature articles have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, national newspapers , and the publications of Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Boston Universities. She also runs a popular storytelling website, storybee.org, which is used in schools, libraries, hospitals and homes all over the world. Shirley graduated from Cornell University, majoring in economics and nutrition, and is an alumna of the Radcliffe Writing Seminars. She grew up in the town where the blood libel happened, as did her father, whose family was directly victimized by it. She now lives with her husband, two daughters, and two frisky dogs in Western Massachusetts, where she has recently helped make her town a certified fair-trade community.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While this novella has a very important message of the damaging effects of hate, the way it is presented is not in the most effective manner. When a young girl disappears, a lie is created to divert police away from a different crime and in the direction of the Jewish "murderers". Rumors circulate, fingers are pointed, and an entire religion is blamed for the murder of a child. My issue with this novel was that it just didn't read powerfully enough for such a huge subject matter. It takes place during Prohibition, but other than a few lines that seems a bit like forced role-playing the story really could have taken place in modern day. Maybe I'm just picky because historical fiction is my favorite, but if a story is going to be set in the past, it should really take place in the past. Other than that, the story peaks very early and then kind of just ends. There is no real build up, no suspense, no real emotion. That was my biggest issue, I wanted to connect to the characters and the plot, I just didn't care for any of them.Based on a true story, the basis of the novel is very powerful in itself. Unfortunately, the power and raw emotion in such an event were not transferred well from page to reader. However, it was a very quick read (I read it in one sitting) and it is interesting how lie from one selfish person turns a town into chaos and socially turns against a religion.
An interesting look into a past often hidden by local histories. A small town still today, Massena N.Y. is the true setting for a tale that could have happened in almost any town 1928. A crime thought to have been committed, guarded tolerance, religious ignorance and forbidden love. If not for my own knowledge of the events I would think S.R.Vernick has a healthy imagination. A good book for teens or a quick afternoon read. I rather enjoyed it.