Leah Abramovitz, a cossetted member of the upper echelons of Odessan society, has high hopes for a brilliant future—that is until Fate takes a hand. When confronted with alarming changes in political and societal mores, the family decide to flee and chart a course that will forever alter their lives. Will her dreams be washed away on the shores of Buenos Aires or will LeahLeah Abramovitz, a cossetted member of the upper echelons of Odessan society, has high hopes for a brilliant future—that is until Fate takes a hand. When confronted with alarming changes in political and societal mores, the family decide to flee and chart a course that will forever alter their lives. Will her dreams be washed away on the shores of Buenos Aires or will Leah finally achieve the freedom to design her own destiny?...
|Title||:||Destiny by Design- Leah's Journey|
|Number of Pages||:||376 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Destiny by Design- Leah's Journey Reviews
4.5 rounded up to 5 starsThis is a fascinating coming-of-age story of a young woman (ages 17-25) which also incorporates the harsh realities of what it meant to be Jewish in the early 1900s in Russia (specifically, the Ukraine) and in Argentina. In addition, there are some subtle elements of Pride and Prejudice in the story, as the heroine exhibits Elizabeth Bennet-type traits (being bright, stubborn, judgmental, and quick to engage in debate) while growing from a naïve girl to an independent woman. It’s an ambitious mixture, and Ms. Trupp proves herself up to the challenge. The historical facts woven into this tale centered on an aristocratic Russian Jewish family are sobering and enlightening, especially to a Goyim like myself. There are three primary time periods covered. The first is in Odessa, Russia in 1901, the second in Basalvilbaso, Argentina from 1901-1904, and the third in 1908 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.The Abramovitz family is a devoutly religious, wealthy clan of 12 siblings, their spouses, and children all living in a large estate with their matriarch, Malka. The eldest sons run a thriving manufacturing plant in Odessa established by their now-deceased father. The family has had a reasonably secure relationship with the local authorities, but suddenly their annual government fees increase to ridiculous heights. Competitors take advantage of the growing anti-Jewish political climate to lodge unfounded complaints against them. The youngest Abramovitz daughter, Leah, is a pampered 17-year-old as the book begins. After having had one bad experience when she believed she was in love (described in full in the previous book Becoming Malka), she believes she is much wiser and is eager to find a suitable husband. In typical self-absorbed teenage fashion, she eagerly makes grand plans for her coming out party. All the political talk among her brothers seems irrelevant to the most important event of her life. Readers easily recognize the contrast between Leah’s obsession about hosting the perfect party and the fear growing within the rest of the family because of increasing discrimination against supposed “foreigners” like themselves.Eventually, they must accept the inevitable. Rather than stay where their future is no longer secure, they move to Argentina, which is welcoming Jewish settlers. There are many more historical nuggets here, including information about the Jewish Colonization Association (J.C.A.), gauchos, the gradual blending of Russian, Argentinian and Jewish cultures, and much more. The family’s expectation that they can reestablish themselves in comfort and remain together as a family is shattered. They must acclimate themselves to greatly reduced circumstances as farmers, facing various challenges and setbacks as they learn to cope with their new living conditions. This includes Leah, of course. She enjoys more freedom than she had in Russia, but she is frustrated at first because she does not adapt as easily as the rest of her family and feels she is not contributing to their survival. Her innate sense of fashion grows stronger as she finds herself inspired by local Argentinian clothing, and she yearns to put her design and sewing skills to work. She develops friendships, first with Joaquin Ibanez, then with Juan Carlos Bartholomew, and later in the book she has an antagonistic relationship with a business connection of her brothers, Ernesto Blumenthal. After experiencing two romantic disappointments (first of which is documented in Becoming Malka), she comes to the conclusion that she will never marry. Instead, she is eager to move to Buenos Aires with her brothers Moishe and Yosef so that she can pursue her own dream of becoming a famous fashion designer.I love the way Ms. Trupp writes. Believable conversations and narrative observations make the characters’ personalities feel real to the reader. Their fears for survival feel even more real. Leah is an especially endearing heroine. It’s fun to watch her grow up yet heartrending to read how much she and her family must endure. Showing these experiences through Leah’s naïve eyes lightens the inherent heaviness of the subject matter. My only criticism is that, as the story is already set in a time of historical significance, the additional history lessons where characters speak about events from decades past are not necessary to the novel’s plot. I admit, though, that I'm a reader who tends to focus on the plot itself rather than the historical context, so other readers may not feel the same. That’s a very small complaint, indeed, in such a generally excellent novel.
This is not my genre at all, but I found myself drawn into it. I had planned to read it when I had some free time, I but ended up reading it sooner because the opening chapters evoked my curiosity. The genteel voice and tone of another era are consistent throughout. This novel is a work of Jewish heritage. Congratulations to the author on collecting and committing the history to the written page. There are too few Jewish works that tell great stories not centered on the Shoah. I would liken this to Yomtovian’s Leaving Iran, a work equal parts history and family narrative. The story kept me engaged while I learned more Jewish history. I thoroughly enjoyed learning Argentinian Jewish history in Destiny by Design.
A beautiful story, RICHLY told, that must be heard. I thoroughly enjoyed following the journey of an aristocratic Jewish family forced to escape the pogroms of Russia in the 1900’s to the great, wild, uncertain yet hopeful New World. Like an Ellis Island story, this takes place in the New World of South America, specifically Argentina. The focus is on Leah, the youngest of the clan, a smart and ambitious, modern young lady. I enjoyed “watching” her grow up, develop her talent and skills, and of course, experience her romantic attachments and heartbreaks described so tenderly by Mirta.Every single one of the characters are painted so vividly, that I felt the temperaments and dynamics of each individual as they entered the scene! Mirta weaves all the historical facts in with this fictional story seamlessly, entertaining me while enriching me with the story of my own ancestors, making me really appreciate the immense courage and fortitude they had! I felt the struggle, the hopes and fears, the love and disdain, the “Pride and Prejudice” too. I experienced the textures and luxury of lavish surroundings and architecture, as well as the warmth and spirit of sharing a maté in the most humble of settings in the city and in the pampas. I often heard “Buenos Aires, is South America’s Paris” and Mirta certainly paints that picture.There’s more than a nod to Jane Austen in the story that is loveable and smart! A must-read for fans of Jane Austen, immigrant stories, Society and Fashion, Jewish stories, and Turn of the Century sagas. Destiny by Design, Leah’s Journey shows Mirta’s amazing gift of writing and her extensive and passion-driven research on the subject!
Kudos on your new novel! I love how you delve into the period and bring it to life. I felt as if I was there, as if I was part of the family! Just like with ‘Becoming Malka’ you have provided a glimpse into a lifestyle that most of us are not familiar, nor do we equate with Russian Jews. The Sugar Kings of Ukraine? The Gintsburgs of St. Petersburg? These Jewish industrialists were “practically royalty,” as Leah put it—who knew? Destiny by Design~ Leah’s Journey is a definite nod to Jane Austen’s work with familiar personalities and scenarios. I absolutely love the combination of period drama with interesting, well-rounded Jewish characters. The back story of the J.C.A. colonies in Argentina is rich and educational, as well as entertaining and sweet. You have done a wonderful job in continuing Becoming Malka’s story-line and have laid some interesting work down for the next…will we hear more about Duvid, Gitel or even Avram? I certainly hope so!
Mirta, Congratulations and Brava. 4 stars for Destiny by Design: Leah's Journey! I greatly enjoyed it, and more as it went on. First, I thought it was really interesting to see what was happening in Odessa at the time of the pograms, and to witness first hand the conflict of a high bred successful Jewish family, who has to make choices that consider the household staff, a family of 35 people, and the community they are leaving behind, not to mention a heritage, a history, a business, and the country of their nationality. I found it beautifully done. Their adaptation and adjustment to Argentina wasn't easy, and it shouldn't have been. But this family has a resilience that is mirrored in Leah. Easily my favorite character of the book - Malka the matriarch. Who taught her children that God has a plan, but also that each has to make their own destiny in accordance. I have always loved the delicate balance between will and predestination, what is fated versus what we choose, and I thought this book did that very well. Its even encapsulated in the title. Just a few things to note. I also read Becoming Malka, the "prequel" to this novel, which I also enjoyed. Although I daresay I enjoyed this one even more. This novel is perfectly capable of a stand alone novel. In fact, I found I had remembered few details of Becoming Malka. But Oh did I fall in love with this family. But I admit, that when the references to the earlier novel, to Molly/Marina emerged, I wondered how a reader who hadn't read the first would understand these sudden almost interruptions to include the previous character. Personally, I felt the references to Molly/Marina, didn't add anything to the story. That perhaps she wasn't needed to follow this really wonderful and colorful family. Maybe only a paragraph or two from one of the characters to remember and honor her impact might have been enough. Its interesting, because the first half of the book follows the entire Abramowitz Family. It doesn't really become "Leah's Journey" until the second half of the book. And I liked the rest of the family and their journey. So I was really enjoying all of them. One of the things I really liked about Leah, was her connection to all of the Jane Austen characters, and how much spirit and style she had. Ultimately, she became one of them - or always was to some extent. It reveals the passion of the author for Austen's writing along with the central characters. That was really fun. Following Leah, the youngest of 12 siblings in a large domineering religious family, was really fun and quite beautiful, as she did need to make her own way. I thought she was a great character, and I loved watching her journey unfold. I loved Odessa, and I loved Buenos Aires, despite the obvious political tensions and riots and pograms. It was an interesting look at a high class society, that is just as affected by these restrictions and violence and antisemitism, as all the rest of the community. The organization of the JCA was incredibly interesting to learn about, as well as the early community of relocated Argentine Jews. I also loved the shifting look at how a religious and observant family has to both keep their heritage and adapt, as their cultures and fortunes change. I thought that tension was extremely well done. It reminded me of Leah's work as a fashion designer, and how one has to adapt to the new, while preserving the old. Who better, than Leah Abramowitz, a modern day Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma, rolled into one feisty Jewish young girl, ripped from her homeland, with a wonderful but extremely strong minded family. She really emerged beautifully, and I adored how it all played out. It was very Jane Austen. Loved it, Mirta! Great Job. The book is about to land on the carousel at a fancy schmancy resort in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. I love to see how these books are snatched up immediately, and if they even return to the carousel before we leave. I am always sort of following its travels. I wanted to mention again, that this was a giveaway book - meant to create buzz for the book and its author, and it is well worth the praise. I hope its mysterious travel will also help to create interest and buzz. The Giveaway program is one of my favorite features of Amazon, my new friends being my other favorite. In this case, the author herself chose me personally for a giveaway, and I thank you for the honor and privilege of the journey, as well as the gift. I hope my review does help to create some interest. I will also post it on the Jewish Historical Fiction website, for the best attempt at your targeted audience.
This book is amazing!Leah’s Journey took me to my grandparents’ journey and to the life of most of the Jewish community who arrived to Argentina at the beginning of the XX Century.Thanks to the author who make me dream again about my ancestors.Do not miss this wonderful book!
I loved this book. It's a beautiful mixture of history of Russia and Argentina, of politics, of youth, of Jewish history and culture, of Argentinian culture, of literature, and what makes it such a delight is that all those different aspects of this book work together, and work well. Yeah, I loved this book.Leah and her Jewish family were living a happy life in Odessa, Russia in the early 1900s. They had a successful business, were well-educated, loved each other, and would happily have stayed where they were. Unfortunately, Pogroms made that impossible. When thing become dangerous, her brothers discover a program designed to help Jews move to Argentina. After much discussion, they decide to do just that. Life in Argentina is much different from what they knew in Russia, and much harder. Still, they all agreed that a bit of hard work in exchange for freedom was a good exchange. They all join together and apply themselves. Little by little, they learn about their newly adopted country and settle in, accepting the local culture as part of their own. Unfortunately, violence again makes an appearance in their new homeland. Joining the Abramovitz family in this new land is Ernest Blumenthal, a young Englishman sent to Argentina by his father to scout locations for a new outlet for his family's London department store. Leah finds Ernest, or Ernesto as he's decided to be called in Argentina, annoying and rude. Everything he says rubs her the wrong way, and at times, she can't control giving voice to the words that pop into her head. Ernesto, however, is always a gentleman. He likes and respects Leah and her family. He does what he deems proper to offer his friendship and protection to this young, single woman. Leah also aspires to be a fashion designer, to have her own studio. She's highly talented young woman. When she begins to create gowns for the wealthy ladies of her community, they garner rave reviews. Leah, however, wants to be a great designer with a studio in Buenos Aires, or maybe Paris. She wants to hone her talent by attending a design school.I'm trying to be very careful not to release any spoilers. I'll conclude by saying that this is an interesting and intriguing read. It's well written and an easy story to follow. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in historical novels.I received a free review copy of this book from the author. I thank her for the opportunity to read and offer my input into this book prior to publication. Opinions expressed in this review are based on my reaction to the book and were not influenced by the author or her generosity.