Reviews & Responses
Full Reviews and Q&As
- Renita Last, Jewish Book Council: “The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith, and Talmud”
- Deborah Kalb, Q&A with Maggie Anton
- Women Writers Women Books: Authors Interviewing Characters: Maggie Anton Interviews Hannah Covey Eisin
- Yona Zeldis McDonough, Lilith Magazine: “Maggie Anton’s New Novel of the Talmud”
- Hilary Daninhirsch, Historical Novel Society: “The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith, and Talmud”
- InD’Tale Magazine: “The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith and Talmud”
“Maggie Anton’s latest book, The Choice, masterfully interweaves and explores love and faith through historical events, Jewish traditions and history, and the Talmud. Anton has reimagined the main characters from Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, added strong female characters and voices, which were non-existent previously, and placed them years later into mid-1950s Brooklyn. The reader is gifted with love stories as well as a story of the love of learning…. The Choice is a thought-provoking, informative, important, and engaging read.”
– Jewish Book Council
“An inherently fascinating, deftly crafted, thought-provoking, and occasionally iconoclastic novel that will have a particular and special appeal to readers with an interest in Judaism and the role of contemporary women in Jewish culture, The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith, and Talmud by accomplished novelist Maggie Anton is very highly recommended and is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format.”
–Midwest Book Review
The Choice is a compelling book about the role of women in a patriarchal society. The author pays homage to Chaim Potok’s characters in a respectful way…it should greatly appeal to those readers interested in scholarly Talmudic debates. But at its heart, it is a love story, and a unique one at that.
– Historical Novel Society: https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-choice-a-novel-of-love-faith-and-talmud/
“The Choice is about the choices Jews make and the rules we break for reasons of conscience, consideration, logic, and love. Buy this book for the endearing romance at its core and as a bonus get a feminist brief for women’s inclusion in sacred space and communal life, plus twenty brilliant Talmud lessons for free. A surfeit of riches.”
– Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of twelve books including Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America, and the forthcoming Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy (Fall 2022)
Maggie Anton has created an amazing mixture of a mid-century historical novel, fan fiction, and a feminist view of Jewish texts–all bound together in a compelling romance narrative! This book is going to be a favorite of book clubs, as well as individual readers.
– Rabbi Mary Zamore, Executive Director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, editor of The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic, a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist
Maggie Anton’s new novel embeds issues concerning the intersection of modernity, belief, and ritual practices within a lively, intellectually engaging romance. Best of all, the romantic relationship of Hannah and Nathan evolves in sync with their scintillating discussions of various Talmudic passages, both from traditional and critical perspectives, leaving us wondering just how much more enriched Jewish life would be today had women been participants in the Talmudic dialectic all along.
– Stuart S. Miller, Professor of Hebrew History and Judaic Studies, University of Connecticut at Storrs; author of At the Intersection of Texts and Material Finds: Stepped Pools, Stone Vessels, and Ritual Purity Among the Jews of Roman Galilee
Once again, Maggie Anton weaves her deep love for Talmud into a novel that is both a love story and a recentering of Jewish women in our history and literature, classical and modern. In Hannah Eisen, Anton imagines a worthy foremother for modern women (including herself) who have immersed themselves in rabbinic study.
– Rabbi Gail Labovitz is Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the American Jewish University; author of Marriage and Metaphor: Constructions of Gender in Rabbinic Literature
In The Choice, Maggie Anton presents a tale of characters inspired by Chaim Potok’s novels, imagining their future struggles and triumphs. Using her unique blend of historical fiction, Jewish history, and Talmudic text, Anton provides a glimpse at American Jewish life in the 1950s and allows us to share in the lives of powerful yet familiar characters. Thank you, Maggie, for letting us know what happened next!
– Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director, Women of Reform Judaism
Reading Maggie Anton’s new book made me realize how much progress has been made in regard to women studying Talmud. The Choice is not only a novel but also a guide to learning about the role of women in Judaism and should be required reading in classes on the topic of women and mitzvot and women and Talmud study. Buy a copy for yourself and get a copy for your chevruta, study partner.
– Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
Anton utilizes the characters’ authentic voices to address social justice while still entertaining the reader with an engaging romance.
– Jackie Ben-Efraim, Special Collections Librarian, American Jewish University
Maggie Anton gives evocative voice to the generation of our mothers whose questions and bold solutions, especially about the most intimate of subjects, laid the foundation for the contemporary transformation of women’s status in Jewish learning and law.
– Rabbi Susan Grossman, Senior Rabbi, Beth Shalom Congregation, Columbia, Maryland; co-editor of Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue
Maggie Anton’s new book, The Choice takes us into the Jewish world of love and learning and the love of learning. One can only be grateful for such an intriguing and engaging work. Her combination of history, imagination and feminist reading of classical Jewish texts is impressive.
– Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Emerita of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, co-author with Richard Siegel of Getting Good at Getting Older
Maggie Anton’s The Choice is a marvelous piece of Midrash (early rabbinic interpretation of a classical text) or as it’s called today: fan fiction. Anton aptly illuminates the Talmudic dictum: “Better to dwell in tandem than to sit abandoned.”
– Rabbi Burt Visotzky, Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary; author of A Delightful Compendium of Consolation and Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud
The Choice is an engaging love story of a young woman and man determined to honor religious traditions in the face of changing social mores and radical intellectual advances of the post-World War II era. Anton’s novel is simultaneously heartwarming and provocative, providing a fresh and stimulating perspective on American Jewish society during the 1950s.
– Jody Myers, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, California State University, Northridge
Maggie Anton creates a rich tapestry of characters, situations, and conundrums that imaginatively envisions how, if women had been welcomed into Talmud study and decision-making, conversations might have unfolded and decisions been made. This underscores the importance in our day of including the entire community in discussions of evolving moral values, belief, and ritual practice. The integration of serious Talmudic discourse between a woman and a man negotiating their own relationship vis-a-vis Jewish practice is a delight to read.
– Rabbi Amy Scheinerman blogs at “Ten Minutes of Talmud” and is author of The Talmud of Relationships, a National Jewish Book Award Finalist
What a love of learning infuses Maggie Anton’s The Choice! And how wonderfully she engages Jewish learning, women’s lives, and feminist issues in her new novel.
– Rabbi Dr. Miriyam Glazer, Emerita Professor of Literature, American Jewish University, author of Psalms of the Jewish Liturgy: A Guide to their Beauty, Power & Meaning
The concept of this novel is awesome! The style in which Maggie Anton writes just flows so easily, and the language used is beautiful. Hannah is a character that a lot of women will find themselves relating to…Hannah and Nathan’s character development is spot-on… The Choice is a novel that will remain with readers long after it has been finished, and it’s definitely one that will be reread again and again. One to most certainly put on the eReader this Spring.
– InD’Tale Magazine https://indtale.com/reviews/historical/choice-novel-love-faith-and-talmud