Review: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Title: The Matzah Ball
Author: Jean Meltzer
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Page Length: 416
Genre: Holiday | Romance
Age Range: Adult
Rating: 4⭐

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Oy! to the world

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.


Thanks to Edelweiss and Mira Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first holiday read centering entirely around Hanukkah and its traditions. I have to say, I need more! I found the traditions all so interesting – the ball, the food, the no-tech at certain times (was completely unaware of that). It was a nice change to read a holiday romance that wasn’t set in one of my own traditions.

The chemistry between Rachel and Jacob was just adorable! Learning the pranks they pulled on each other as kids – such “if a boy likes you, he’ll tease you” mentality that I found just adorable. Thinking pranks were the way to Rachel’s heart, more pranks – such innocent sounding, but extremely embarrassing ones. But it’s more than just pranks behind this relationship issues , but not in such a way that I’d classify this as a hate-to-love trope. Instead, this was a second chance romance – a trope I don’t read often, but turns out I love (in the right circumstances).

The rest of the supporting characters, although important, felt more like set pieces. I didn’t know much about them and the relationship between a side character and our main(s) was never explored past what would be needed for the plot to move forward. But I don’t consider this a bad thing. I hadn’t expected deep plots and relationships when picking up this book. I wanted to read a holiday romance and that’s exactly what I got.

I very much enjoyed this holiday read and I will be keeping my eye out for more Hanukkah romances and more from Meltzer. I 100% recommend you pick this one up this season if you love holiday romances and wanted to expand into different holidays.

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