Photo Credit: Bancroft Press

Title: The Prophetess
By Evonne Marzouk
Bancroft Press

 

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Looking for a great beach read this summer? If you’re a fan of books like JK Rowling’s Harry Potter or Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities, you’re sure to also like The Prophetess, by Evonne Marzouk.

This novel features Rachel, a typical high school senior keeping up with her studies while juggling extracurricular activities, a social life, and college applications. Right before the start of the school year, her grandfather passes away. He and Rachel shared a special bond; starting from when she was a young child. Her grandfather taught her Jewish wisdom, alef bais, and prayers from the siddur. He also told her many stories; some stories were about his childhood before the war including about his grandfather, a great rabbi. Other stories were magical tales about holy people who spoke directly to G-d, asking Him for wisdom, protection from plagues, and peace with the government.

Shortly after shiva, Rachel looks through a siddur that her grandfather gave her as a young child. In it, he wrote, “For Rachel. May she grow into all of her gifts.” Rachel now has to do the hard internal work of figuring out what her gifts are.

At Yom Kippur services, Rachel observes and feels drawn toward a stranger she sees davening. After Yom Kippur, during the break-the-fast meal, this stranger, Yonatan, introduces himself to Rachel, asking her to meet him at shul every Shabbos morning. Yonatan introduces Rachel to Jewish prophecy, and explains to her that she was chosen to become a Jewish prophetess. These weekly meetings with Yonatan help Rachel begin the process of unraveling what her gifts are. As a result of her prophecy, she experiences uncontrolled visions and holy teachings, allowing her to help people in ways that no one else could.

The Prophetess is a novel about the discovery of self-identity and finding one’s unique purpose in this world. As one follows Rachel’s journey, one might also dig internally and question: What are my unique gifts, and what does it mean to grow into these gifts?

For book group discussion, Marzouk includes questions at the back of the book. If readers want to learn more about The Prophetess and Marzouk’s work, they can find her at Instagram @heroinewhisperer as well as on her website, www.growintoyourgifts.com.

I hope a sequel to The Prophetess is in the cards for the future in order so that we can continue following Rachel in her journey of growing into her gifts!

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Avigayil Perry lives in Norfolk, Virginia and writes for various Jewish publications.