The Weight of Ink

By Rachel Kadish,

Book cover of The Weight of Ink

Book description

WINNER OF A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD A USA TODAY BESTSELLER "A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion."-Toni Morrison Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable…

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

4 authors picked The Weight of Ink as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Ester Velasquez and Helen Watt are two women separated by 300 years and connected by a cache of hidden documents. Seventeenth-century Ester, scribe to a blind rabbi, embraces new ideas she encounters in the rabbi’s correspondence. She yearns for the freedom to debate philosophy with other learned minds rather than lose herself to husband and home. Helen is a contemporary British professor eager to unlock the mysterious scribe. Enter the fantastical world of quill and ink, Portuguese-Jewish refugees from the Inquisition, Restoration London, Black Death, intellectual controversies, and forbidden thought.

I love this book because of Kadish’s atmospheric writing…

From Bronwyn's list on fabulous femmes in fantastical settings.

If you love historical novels like I do, with dueling timelines, great characters, and plot lines, then, Rachel Kadish’s book’s for you. Like my book, there are two time periods, two protagonists, two competing plots, and two worlds. This juxtaposing keeps the reader on their toes while they are impatient to move from one timeline to the next while adding a further dimension to the storyline.

From Sherry's list on historical novels to get lost in.

Talk about your complex characters…this is a dual timeline historical fiction, with one story following a Jewish girl in 1660s London and the other following a prickly older woman in the modern-day city. Ester struggles to find her own agency against her family’s expectations and society’s strictures, while Helen fights to retain hers against colleagues in academia wanting her to retire and itching to steal her research turf, which includes a certain 1660s London neighborhood… With themes of desire, ambition, friendship, and dignity, this novel won its way into my heart with its characters’ burning desire to be seen and…

From Margaret's list on to hear forgotten voices of resistance.

The Weight of Ink is a sweeping, expansive story about two brilliant females: a young woman in the 1660s, who becomes the scribe to a blind rabbi and, through feats of great daring, a correspondent with the philosophers of the day;  and an aging historian in the 1990s, who fights to gain access to and analyse these correspondences. Kadish highlights how intellectual women of different centuries have coped with restrictions set upon them. 

Want books like The Weight of Ink?

Our community of 6,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Weight of Ink.

Browse books like The Weight of Ink

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Jewish history, London, and rabbis?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Jewish history, London, and rabbis.

Jewish History Explore 291 books about Jewish history
London Explore 479 books about London
Rabbis Explore 14 books about rabbis