This is an intriguing book. It has three accolades on the front and I think it deserves maybe one or two of them :P
The story follows Hanna, a book conservationist, after she receives an offer to good to resist. Hanna is given the opportunity to conserve an incredibly important, very old Jewish prayer book. While Hanna is working hard to ensure the book will be viewed and appreciated for many years to come she finds different objects within the pages, and wonders at the history of the book.
After the first few chapters form Hanna's perspective the book delves into the lives of the 'People of the Book'. The owner of the hair, the reason there is blood mixed with Kosher wine on a page and so on. These chapters are breathtakingly beautiful, and each are unique as they span hundreds of years. It is a fantastic stylistic feature and a great way to develop the story of the people who held the prayer book at one time or another.
The worlds Brooks creates are vibrant and diverse, chapters include some of the most turbulent time in history and the characters are richly developed. It was a story that you fully want to immerse yourself in and I really did. The religious history is one sided and it doesn't portray Christianity in the most positive light. I am more interested in the history and theology of religion, rather than the practice of it, so I wasn't bothered.
I will warn you the best part of the book are the chapters where the readers are inited into the lives of the 'people of the book'. The worst part of the book is the way Hanna does not feel realistic at all, her relationships seems to exist to connect to the everyman/women. Her personal conflict is unrealistic and feels forced. Definitely disappointing considering how many accolades it has received.
3.5/5 religions getting along.