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Review: All Other Nights June 5, 2009

Posted by Galaxy in Book Reviews.
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Written by Sandy (I’d meant to post this over a month ago, when the book was first published, but it got lost in the shuffle. Time to dust it off–this book could be a great vacation read!)

All Other Nights, by Dara Horn

All Other Nights is the story of Jacob Rappaport, a young Jewish solder who is forced to decide whether to betray his country or betray his family when he is ordered to murder his uncle, who is suspected of plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. Telling himself that it is the right thing to do for his country, Jacob follows orders, fully expecting some reward or recognition for his dedication. Instead, upon returning to his regiment, he is sent on another undercover  mission, this time to infiltrate a family of female spies by winning the confidence and love of their supposed ringleader, Eugenia. Despite himself, Jacob learns to care deeply for Eugenia, and is once again trapped between his country and the people he loves. Whatever his choice, he may never be able to redeem himself to the ones he betrays.

By exploring the roles of Jewish Americans in the Civil War, Dara Horn offers a fresh take on this well documented period in history. Jacob is a witness to anti-Semitism in his own life, through thinly veiled comments of his peers and superiors. He sees blame placed on all Jews for the actions of individuals like his uncle and Judah Benjamin, the Secretary of State of the Confederacy. Intolerance and hypocrisy is rampant, as men who claim to fight for freedom do not believe in the same freedoms for every person, and people whose ancestors escaped from slavery now keep slaves of their own.

I enjoyed Dara Horn’s previous book, The World to Come, but it was certainly a more challenging read. All Other Nights is, I believe, a much more accessible book, and should win Horn many new fans. Her writing is engaging and thoughtful, her characters intriguing and relatable. Whether you’re looking for history, suspense, or romance, this is a book that will satisfy from the first page to the last.

Visit the author’s website.

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