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This beautiful new work of historical fiction was inspired by the diary of an 18th-century Roman Jewish girl who was imprisoned in a convent cell by the Catholic Church in an attempt to forcibly convert her.

“An intricately detailed novel of resistance and community.”  —Kirkus Reviews

Written with the clarity of rage and indignity and blending prose with letters, petitions, and prayers, Anything but Yes is a story of integrity, love, loyalty, and strength, made all the more gripping because it is based on true events. The vibrant life and history of Rome’s millennia-old Jewish community are shared, demonstrating the oppression exercised by the Church. Anything but Yes is a gripping historical novel in which a woman faces discrimination with strength and dignity.
Erika Harlitz Kern, Foreword

Davidow does a wonderful job of telling the story of a courageous woman who stays true to her religion despite everything. I loved the details of life in the ghetto, including the food and the celebrations of the Jewish holidays … Highly recommended.
—Vicki Kondelik, the Historical Novel Society

Davidow does something truly impressive in “Anything But Yes”: she shows how each of the characters – Jewish and Gentile – truly believe in their God and their theology. These beliefs allow well-meaning Christians to be fundamentally and horribly cruel to Anna, since they think
what they are doing is for her own good. These theological differences will form the basis of discussions at book clubs and Jewish study classes for what is a disturbing and, ultimately, fascinating novel. — Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter

Anything But Yes is the true story of a young woman’s struggle to defend her identity in the face of relentless attempts to destroy it.
In 1749, eighteen-year-old Anna del Monte was seized at gunpoint from her home in the Jewish ghetto of Rome and thrown into a convent cell at the Casa dei Catecumeni, the house of converts. With no access to the outside world, she withstood endless lectures, threats, promises, isolation and sleep deprivation. If she were she to utter the simple word “yes,” she risked forced baptism, which would mean never returning to her home and total loss of contact with any Jew, mother, father, brother, sister, for the rest of her life. 


NEW! Audiobook available February 13
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"Readers will be swept along with the trio, and Davidow writes beautifully about the artistic vision and technical demands involved in singing opera. The varied settings feel exquisitely vibrant, from chic, restful Baden-Baden, in Germany’s Black Forest, to politically fraught Paris during France’s Second Republic."
— Sarah Johnson, Booklist

Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events of 19th century Europe, An Unofficial Marriage dramatizes the equally tumultuous real-life love affair of two great artists—the famous Russian author, Ivan Turgenev, and the celebrated French opera singer, Pauline Viardot.

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