The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis
A Novel

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Synopsis

In this remarkable and assured debut, Tova Mirvis tells the story of the close-knit, carefully structured world of the Orthodox community in Memphis, Tennessee, a world that unravels when Batsheva, newly widowed and a convert to Judaism, and her five-year-old daughter, Ayala, move in.


Batsheva is free-spirited and artistic, and at first the women of the ladies auxiliary discover in her a passion for the traditions and rituals of Judaism which have become stale and routine to them. But when Batsheva becomes close with the restless high-school girls she teaches who are eager to catch glimpses of the non-Kosher world outside, and befriends, maybe a little too intimately, the beloved Rabbi's only son, Yosef, feathers begin to ruffle. When events come to a head, and Batshevea's past is revealed, the women's allegiances begin to split over whether Batsheva should be forced out of the community.



Batsheva is an unforgettable character, one who makes her claims on the reader's heart from the first page. The Ladies Auxiliary, beautifully and skillfully told, shows what happens when the outside world leans on a closed community so intent on keeping its children inside its tight walls that it cannot see it is losing them.
 

About Tova Mirvis

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Tova Mirvis grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. She received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
 
Published February 7, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 314 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Ladies Auxiliary

Kirkus Reviews

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A debut that details, with wisdom and grace, the inevitable tensions between the comfort of community and the need for individual freedom, as a young widow and convert moves into a close-knit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood and becomes an unwitting catalyst for change.

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Publishers Weekly

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Taking a job as art teacher at the girls' school, blonde, green-eyed Batsheva is soon a beloved confidante of the community's female teenagers, but when she allows them to wear makeup and miniskirts on a ski trip, and becomes close to the Rabbi's beloved 22-year-old son, she's the subject of crue...

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The Boston Globe

Eventually one learned where to dine (Locke-Ober), what to order (finnan haddie), and how to describe a person who graduated from Boston College High School, Boston College, and Boston College Law School (a triple Eagle).

Sep 29 2013 | Read Full Review of The Ladies Auxiliary: A Novel

Boston.com

Eventually one learned where to dine (Locke-Ober), what to order (finnan haddie), and how to describe a person who graduated from Boston College High School, Boston College, and Boston College Law School (a triple Eagle).

Sep 28 2013 | Read Full Review of The Ladies Auxiliary: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Ladies Auxiliary
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