The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris; published 2014 by Black Cat
Genre: Literary Fiction
Opening line: “The bride stood like a pillar of salt, rigid under layers of itchy petticoats.”
Chani Kaufman is a 19-year-old bride in an ultra-Orthodox community in London. She has never touched a man before, and she’s both terrified and curious about her wedding night. This book starts on Chani’s wedding day, then back-tracks to tell the story of how she met and became engaged to her soon-to-be husband, Baruch. It’s fascinating to hear about how, even in modern London, there are communities where parents and matchmakers decide the fates of their children. Her story is one of watching the women around her—her sisters, mother, and the Rebbetzin—trying to find her identity, and learning to love someone she’s never met.