Updated: Nov 16, 2020
Bookworms prepare yourselves– there is a new kind of novel to bite into, and it comes with a few unexpected factors. The Author, Evonne Marzouk, draws on her identity as a strong Jewish female with spiritual musings to color her chapters with the purity of genuine characters. A few days ago, as she celebrated her book’s first year anniversary with a Zoom meeting, the readers who joined the event gushed about their love for her creation: The Prophetess. Maybe this book is a hit because of its refreshing newness - a Jewish novel that simply tells the story through the eyes of a Jew, but, as a guest during the celebration pointed out - does NOT center around or take its power from the Holocaust.
It takes place in Israel but does not flow with the waters of mainstream media surrounding the controversies of this land. It really allows the subjects to have a robust, fully developed identity with more than just the stereotypical traits.
And it is surely the love and dedication that added to its success. Writing a Jewish young adult novel has always been a lifelong dream of Marzouk’s. She is grateful for the opportunity, and her developmental editor, Elizabeth Bartasius! An obsessive editor, Marzouk appreciated the guidance to keep moving forward; she re-wrote the same scenes over and over again until her writing coach pushed her to get unstuck. Authors tend to be obsessive over-workers, losing sleep over each word choice.
Fun Fact: My uncle Lev Lansky, an esteemed poet who lives in Maryland, told me that he couldn’t find peace until the perfect word was used in his finalized poems.
I asked Marzouk what she hoped the book would bring to this world. “Teen girls need uplifting, honest stories to help them ‘grow into their gifts’ -- to discover and become their own inner feminine superhero. Jewish tradition is filled with this kind of wisdom, but it is not always accessible to teenage girls of any background. My goal was to provide this wisdom in a way that would inspire girls and women of all faiths to seek their life's purpose, and strive to fulfill it", she told me. And in full force with this mission, The Prophetess is embarking on a tour, with successful reviews from several high-profile publications, including Kirkus, the Midwest Book Review, Hadassah Magazine and the American Jewish Libraries' News and Reviews, among others.
I was lucky to meet Marzouk when she and her family visited for Shabbat at my house. Our professional and artistic paths crossed further, when together, we explored the realities of dance as a basis for Beth, the main character’s sister in the novel, who is a dancer.
So what’s on her bookshelf? Marzouk gravitates toward modern thinkers who explore the Jewish mystical tradition. Her next read is Yehudit Schneider's Kabbalistic Writings on the Nature of Masculine and Feminine and guilty pleasure Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. Check them out! And check out The Prophetess, great for anyone, but also the perfect gift for Chanukah or a Bat Mitzvah, and is beloved by teen girls and adult women of all ages. This novel is a leader in the Jewish Young Adult Fiction category on Amazon, and can be ordered at https://amazon.com/Prophetess-Novel-Evonne-Marzouk/dp/161088504X/.
Connect: follow on twitter @ProphetessBook, Instagram @TheProphetessBook, and on Facebook @TheProphetess. Hashtag: #growintoyourgifts.
The Prophetess author Evonne Marzouk has presented to schools, synagogues, mother-daughter programs, and more! Check out her updated website with a full list of offerings, and be in touch to bring her virtual book programs to your community! https://www.evonnemarzouk.com/programs