REVIEW: That Special Someone by Chaya T. Hirsch
Orthodox Jew Adina Reid isn’t having much luck in the dating department. Whether tracking mud into a guy’s car or tripping over her feet, she can’t seem to get past a second date. As if that’s not bad enough, she accidentally spills grape soda on her coworker, Yehoshua Markus. Horrified, she assumes he would be put off by her, too. But oddly, Yehoshua smiles and is completely okay with it. In fact, her clumsiness seems to attract him. It’s not long before they go out on a date.
Adina has a hard time trusting guys because she’s been burned by many and because her father walked out on her when she was a little girl. As she and Yehoshua grow close, the wall she built around herself starts to crumble, and she lets him in. But when Yehoshua goes behind her back and betrays her trust, can Adina forgive him and open her heart to love?
Dear Ms. Hirsch,
I saw your books listed on Amazon and was intrigued. After reading some Hanukkah novellas this past December, I was looking for more romance books outside the usual Inspirational religious offerings and voila, this looked not only interesting but is #ownvoices as well.
Adina Reid is intelligent and hardworking but everyone who knows her will admit that she can be a bit of a klutz. But even for her, breaking the printer on her first day at work is a speed record. Only when her boss’s son arrives, he clears the paper jam and they’re back in business. As Adina tries to fit in with her new office mates, she sits and listens to the women discussing some of the standard topics that young Orthodox women of her age are interested in: dating, marriage, and children. It’s not that these are the only things that they talk about in their lives but Adina knows from past experience that the other main thing that obsesses her, coding and designing a game program, aren’t things people find interesting,
She’s been dating for five years and several past young men have indicated they find her hobby odd. That and her propensity to trip or drop things haven’t gotten her past the second date with anyone and she’s beginning to despair of finding her special someone, a person with whom to build a life in their Orthodox community. Most of her friends are now married and many have children but despite the efforts of the matchmaker, Adina has had no luck.
Some of her coworkers warn her off Yehoshua, telling her that he’s dated past workers or friends and can be “difficult” but Adina finds him kind and open hearted. He doesn’t even make a fuss over the grape juice she accidentally spills on him and he seeks her out to talk both at work and at a social occasion. Deciding to forgo the matchmaker, the two start to date. Finally Adina thinks she might have found The One. But there are things Yehoshua hasn’t told her – things that might indicate that he’s not the one she wants or needs to build a life with.
First of all, I appreciate the way that Yiddish and Hebrew words are used in the story. For most it’s clear from the dialog what they mean and there’s also a glossary included at the end. But I also never felt as if things were being over-explained to me either. The ways and means of Orthodox life are also made clear from how the characters act and think. At one point, Yehoshua has to help Adina get something out of her hair and she thinks, “He touched my hair.” We know this is important because of the fact that Adina has already mentioned how Orthodox Jews of opposite genders do not touch if they’re not married.
I liked the glimpses into the lives and families of these characters. Yes, Adina is very focused on her dating difficulties but since this is such an important part of her life and the lives of young Orthodox women, it made sense. A few other characters mention how other friends and family members had a tough time while dating but how the standard was still to use a matchmaker. Simply going to a gastropub or sporting event to find someone to date simply isn’t the norm for them.
Spoiler (Spoiler): Show
There are reasons why Yehoshua pulls back at times and Adina also has a past issue in her life that has affected her deeply. The way everything is tied up at the end is just a little fast and perhaps a bit predictable but I enjoyed the fact that Adina is the one with the courage to face the issues and push for an answer though this does make Yehoshua look a little weak. I have a feeling that Adina will be running that marriage as well as the household. I liked learning more about a world fairly new to me and will be trying more of these books. B
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