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The hero of this book was not a saint, nor even a tzadik – the nearest Jewish equivalent – but he was a hero. Someone who risked his own life to make a difference to the life of another. Were his motives selfless? No. He was after all flesh and blood. A man. And a very young one. But life is not black and white. Heroes are not without their flaws. This is his story.

Tholdi is a romantic. A musical prodigy whose brilliant future is extinguished when the horror unfolding across Europe arrives at his door. One day he’s captivated by the beautiful, mysterious Lyuba who he meets on his sixteenth birthday; the next he wakes to the terrors of war as the Nazi-allied Romanians attack his town of Czernowitz.

A ghetto is built to imprison the town’s Jews before herding them onto trains bound for the concentration camps of Transnistria. With each passing day, Tholdi and his parents await their turn. And then Fate intervenes, giving them all a reprieve.

At the weaving mill Tholdi secures work that spares him. He is elated. Until he discovers the two brothers who run the mill are Nazi collaborators hiding a terrible secret: the threat of transportation remains. When Tholdi sees one of the brothers with Lyuba, he glimpses a way to save himself and his family. But the stakes of his gamble are high. Will Lyuba be the key to their survival, or will Tholdi’s infatuation with her become a dangerous obsession that guarantees their death?

NIGHT LESSONS IN LITTLE JERUSALEM is an unforgettable debut novel of war, family and love.

Reviews

The style is straightforward and racy, the plot a complex one that forces the reader to consider what various moral dilemmas might look like to people in fear for their lives.
VIC [PRINT] The Saturday Age [AUDIENCE: 241,029 ASR: AUD 13,844]
This is a novel of convincing historical imagining. Enjoyment or entertainment are not words that fit stories about the Holocaust. A better, fairer word is interest and this book does not lack it.
VIC [PRINT] Weekly Times [AUDIENCE: 50,808 ASR: AUD 1,630]
Review
QLD [PRINT] Courier Mail [AUDIENCE: 166,502 ASR: AUD 7,002]
This book was wonderful.
[ONLINE] Gem's Book Nook
'A powerful debut that plays with both fiction and memoir.' [AUDIENCE: 27,698 ASR: AUD 4,754]
Law Society of NSW Journal
Great debut
VIC [PRINT] The Weekend Herald Sun [AUDIENCE: 306,571 ASR: AUD 92,825]
Beautifully written, enthralling tale.
NSW [PRINT] The Daily Telegraph [AUDIENCE: 221,641 ASR: AUD 8,038]
This is a compelling historical drama that presents a moving tale of struggle, regret and forbidden love in the most devastating of circumstances. Held does an excellent job portraying the grim events that befall the town of Czernowitz and also sets the story around a complex protagonist in Tholdi. No hero, he is a young man forced to make difficult decisions to survive. An impressive and emotional debut novel, it comes highly recommended.
ACT [PRINT] Canberra Weekly [AUDIENCE: 43,319 ASR: AUD 492]
Night Lessons in Little Jerusalem is beautifully written and meticulously researched. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction
[ONLINE] Better Reading
This is a compelling historical drama that presents a moving tale of struggle
ACT [PRINT] Canberra Weekly
Review
SA [PRINT] Adelaide Advertiser [AUDIENCE: 149,005 ASR: AUD 4,309]
'A moving debut.' [AUDIENCE: 211,855 ASR: AUD 31,335]
New Idea