Shifra and Leah were the most un-similar twins I’d ever met. They were a few grades older than me in high school, so I didn’t have much to do with them, but whenever I saw them, I couldn’t help but marvel at their differences. You would never guess the two girls were sisters—much less twins!
Shifra was tall and thin, with fiery red hair and hundreds of freckles sprinkled all over her face. Leah was short, heavyset, and brown-haired, with nary a freckle in sight.
It wasn’t just their appearances. Leah was the life of the party, always jolly and laughing. Shifra, on the other hand, was much quieter. (I know, you expected the redhead to be the loud one, right?)
The weird—or should I say, nice—thing about it was that Shifra and Leah were the closest of friends! You would have thought girls who were so different by nature would gravitate to totally diverse interests, but no, these two were an inseparable pair, always doing things together. They went to the same seminary, they worked in the same office afterward, and in fact, if I recall correctly, they even got engaged and married within a few weeks of each other! It was as if one couldn’t tie the knot without knowing that her twin sister was doing the same!
I hadn’t thought of Shifra and Leah in a while—I haven’t seen either of them in years—but when I read Blood Brothers, by popular author Esther Rapaport, the image of these two girls suddenly flashed in my mind. Here was a set of twins that was the exact opposite of Shifra and Leah. As identical twin boys, Alonso and Alejandro couldn’t have looked more similar, yet the two got on each other’s nerves like the worst of enemies.
Their poor mother, I couldn’t help but think. What a sorry state of affairs.
Then I read more…and more…and, like in every good novel, things began to get more complicated. No more was the greatest problem in the book the fact that Alonso and Alejandro couldn’t get along; now the two had more sinister issues to deal with… Like a life-threatening illness facing Alejandro. Like a high-ranking Communist on Alonso’s back. Like some unexpected perils as Alonso tried to pursue his forbidden Torah study…
For all of you readers familiar with Esther Rapaport, you’ll know without me even saying it: this is one great book. It’s got all the ingredients of a good suspense novel: an exotic setting, intrigue, character depth, some fascinating history thrown in, and an awesome plot.
If you’re looking for a novel that will bring you lots of Yom Tov reading pleasure, look no further: Blood Brothers is the book for you!
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