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REVIEW: The Eighth Night by Sandra Sookoo

Dear Ms. Sookoo,

Off the top of my head, I can’t recall reading any Hanukkah stories so when DA was offered your book for possible review, my ears perked up and I took notice. Though I’m not Jewish, I thought it would be fun to read something different from the mass of Christmas themed books already loaded on my Sony. I can say I’m not disappointed in it or the love story.

The Eighth Night - Sandra SookooEli Goodman knows when his cell phone rings that early in the morning, it’s bound to be his mother. Diane Goodman is a force of nature and as one of her daughters puts it, you either ignore her or go along with her. With a sinking heart he gets the order to Be There that evening for the first night – and to bring a bag of potatoes and ice. As he’s standing in line at Megamart, he notices the cashier who he’s seen a few times before and devises a plan to throw his matchmaking mother off the scent. He’ll invite this pretty shiksa and shamelessly use her to run interference with his interfering family. With luck, his mother will be so pissed with him that she’ll leave him alone for a few weeks of peace.

Brooke Langley has only a cold car ride home to her hamster to look forward to at the end of her mind numbing shift of work so when a handsome customer invites her home for his holiday, she mentally shrugs and decides “why not.” While I’m thinking, good thing this is not a romantic suspense and Brooke might want to be wary, she arrives at the Goodman home to be enveloped by the clan. Initially Brooke feels like a hooker in church which isn’t helped by the fact that Eli drags her off to the kitchen where they spend most of the time. A sharp encounter with his mother later and they’re on the way out the door.

Since Brooke didn’t exactly feel the love the evening before, she’s surprised when Eli shows up at Megamart the next evening and invites her to the second night. He’s bluntly honest – too blunt from Brooke’s POV – about why he’s inviting her but that second night, something clicks for her and she finds herself settling in and feeling a bit more at home. As an orphan with almost no one, she feels envious of this huge, boisterous group and of the easy acceptance they offer to family. She’s also learning to verbally push back when pushed and discovering that underneath his sometimes grumpy exterior, Eli is a charmer.

As the evenings speed by, Brooke and Eli start to accept the growing feelings between them, despite a few rocky patches. And with his mother’s seal of approval of her, Brooke dares hope that perhaps there might be a future with this handsome guy. But are the two of them ready to take a chance on something that’s only eight nights old?

Okay, so I’ve said I’m not Jewish and at the risk of offending those who are, there are a lot of Jewish stereotypes in this story. The bossy Jewish mother, the nosey relatives, the clique-ish stance against outsiders, the preference on having a profession rather than a job, the man who is henpecked by his female relations – I guess that in order to become a stereotype there must be a grain of truth about it somewhere but my eyebrows were still raised at times. That being said, most of this is portrayed with love and laughter and something to be embraced rather than run from.

Eli is a jerk at times but Brooke, backed by the women in his family, is woman enough to take him down a peg – or three – and straighten him out. You show that even though the Goodmans are initially skeptical of Brooke and grill her with questions later on, it’s all done because they love Eli and want the best for him. And that after they accept Brooke into the fold, she’s one of them for life.

I’m not usually keen on quick romances and this one is very fast – over eight nights as the title shows. But here I totally buy into it. And the sex is not only hot but fun too. I’m not so sure about Brooke’s decision to convert though. Changing one’s religion is, to me, something that needs a lot more thought and consideration than can be shown in a story this short.

With nothing to back me on picking this novella to read, I finished it satisfied with my gamble. It packs an emotional romance wallop along with joy for the holiday season without being cloying or sugary sweet. It also ensures that I’ll be watching to see what else you offer the romance reader. B

~Jayne

Book Link | Liquid Silver

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

20 Comments

  1. 1
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 05:55:06

    Publisher Name should be Liquid Silver Books not Loose-ID on the links. The book tag is correct.

    ReplyReply

  2. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 06:03:06

    @1: Sorry for the glitch and thanks for catching it. It should read “Liquid Silver” now.

    ReplyReply

  3. Sandi Sookoo
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 06:31:55

    Thank you so much for reading the book and for liking it! I wrote it because there really isn’t that many books featuring this holiday and I’m happy to see it’s being well received :-) All the best to you!

    ReplyReply

  4. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 07:05:03

    @Sandi Sookoo:

    I wrote it because there really isn't that many books featuring this holiday

    There aren’t, are there? I’m having trouble thinking of books featuring other-than-Christian holidays.

    ReplyReply

  5. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 07:06:55

    Looking at the cover reminds me that this is one of the better ones I’ve come across lately. Romantic, showing the book theme and not tacky.

    ReplyReply

  6. liz talley
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 08:01:26

    Sounds very interesting. I, too, like the idea of a holiday book that doesn’t revolve around Christmas. And I love the premise – it’s familiar, but I love he chooses the hot checkout clerk at his local grocery to masquerade as his love interest.

    As soon as I find my Kindle cord in all my boxes from the move, I’ll give it a try :)

    Liz

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  7. Joy
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 09:03:05

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Brooke’s hasty decision to convert. The rabbi(s) in charge of her conversion will take care of that. I’ve had several friends go through this process–it takes at least a year, and for good reason. They want you to be sure and know what you’re getting into.

    ReplyReply

  8. Tweets that mention REVIEW: The Eighth Night by Sandra Sookoo | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 09:26:29

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Graylin Fox. Graylin Fox said: REVIEW: The Eighth Night by Sandra Sookoo http://bit.ly/dVAib9 [...]

  9. Jane
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 10:44:46

    @Jayne I was thinking when I scheduled this for posting that there are more books about wiccans than there are about non Protestant religions.

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  10. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 11:28:17

    @Joy: It was mentioned that the actual conversion process would take a while but by the end of the book, Brooke pretty much seems to have made up her mind.

    ReplyReply

  11. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 11:29:00

    @Jane: I’m drawing a blank on anything else too. But would love to hear of any books should they be out there.

    ReplyReply

  12. Karen
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 11:43:57

    I can only think of one other Hanukkah romance, Sweet Light by Judith Arnold, which is a category book from the early 90′s. It’s been many years since I read it, but I can still remember it which is more than I can say for most books I read over 10 years ago!

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  13. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 12:02:37

    @Karen: Thanks for the rec. I’ll see if I can find an ebook copy for sale.

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  14. Angela
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 13:31:58

    A couple years ago I purchased several ebooks for a friend of mine that were Hanukkah based romances. I have no idea if they’re good or not or even how much they really consider Judaism and Hanukkah. And come to think of it, they were all m/m books…

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  15. Holly
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 13:32:00

    @Jane:
    Jane, You’ve seen Yule themed contemporary Wiccan stories? Can you recommend some titles? I’d love to read some. Thanks in advance.

    ReplyReply

  16. Holly
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 13:34:00

    @Angela: M/M books? Do you remember any titles? I love Christmas romances, but it really is nice to find other winter holidays celebrated.

    ReplyReply

  17. Angela
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 13:45:36

    @Holly: I actually just went looking for my confirmation emails about the orders. I found one of them – these are all from Loose Id:

    Bad Brad by Cheryl Dragon
    Eight Nights by Keira Andrews and
    Daybreak by Keira Andrews

    If I find the others I’ll come back with them too :)

    ReplyReply

  18. Holly
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 17:15:25

    @Angela:

    Thanks for the list. I’ll have to check those releases out. It’s even a plus that they’re erotic romance. ER is my preferred read! rubbing hands together and grinning…

    ReplyReply

  19. Holly
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 17:21:06

    I just checked out some of the titles. Loose-Id did a “festival of lights fling” series. Yum…

    ReplyReply

  20. If You Like Holiday Stories…Recommended by the Dear Author crew
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 06:32:33

    [...] The Eight Night by Sandra Sookoo – A Hanukkah novella in which the orphaned heroine who has lost her faith finds happiness with the Jewish hero who impulsively invites her to the family gathering to fend off his matchmaking female relatives.  Reviewed here. [...]

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