The women's suffrage movement is in full swing in 1912 Portland, Oregon—the last holdout state on the West Coast. Miriam desperately wants to work at her father's printing shop, but when he refuses she decides to dedicate herself to the suffrage movement, demanding rights for women and a different life for herself. Amidst the uncertainty of her future, Miriam's attention is diverted by the mysterious Serakh, whose sudden, unexplained appearances and insistent questions lead Miriam to her grandmother's Jewish prayer shawl—and to her destiny. With this shawl, Miriam is taken back in time to inspire the Daughters of Zelophehad, the first women in Biblical history to own land. Miriam brings the strength and courage of these women with her forward in time, emboldening her own struggles and illuminating what it means to be an independent woman.
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Women's rights, Jewish mythology, printing, and time-travel. They seem disparate, but Feldman folds all four of these elements together in a truly moving tale. Miriam is an energetic and competent heroine, who is easily liked and cheered for. All the characters are well-rounded, believable and interesting. I have no personal interest in printing, but I enjoyed the little technical jargon Feldman interspersed throughout the book. It also takes characters out of the Torah or Old Testament who I was not familiar with and gave them life, personalities, and their own stories. The best part about this book is how it ends. It's not picture perfect, but definitely satisfying.