26 October 2018

Published October 24, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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 Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

A bit of backstory on this one which is a distilled excerpt from my WIP, “What the Heart Wants.” The scene takes place in 1880 in Odessa, Ukraine. Asher is a fifteen year old boy who has lost his parents and has been taken in by his Uncle Hirsh, a wealthy merchant. I’m still in the early stages of getting to know my characters who have already become living, breathing individuals in my mind. Feedback is always appreciated.


Asher admired his reflection. He never dreamed he would own such a fine suit. Adjusting his tie, he turned first to the left and then to the right.

            “Now, the finishing touch.” He positioned his yarmulke. “Ready to study with the hoity-toity.”

            “Not with that, you’re not.” Uncle Hirsh seized the skullcap. “You might as well wear a yellow badge that says, ‘I’m a Jew.’”

            “But we are Jews, Uncle.”

            “True, but I don’t go out of my way to advertise it.” Uncle Hirsh crumpled the cap in his fist. “Learn everything you can from the goyim. Make them pay.”


100 comments on “26 October 2018

  • Looks to me like you’re off to a good start Rochelle. I felt for Asher, feeling proud and happy, only for his uncle to whack him over the head with the reality of life. The switch from “yarmulke” (which sounds poetic and seems to say something positive about belonging to a community) to “skullcap”, which I’ve always thought sounded harsh and like a label, had a jarring effect too.

    Keep going!

    Liked by 3 people

  • Set in 1880, Uncle Hirsh doesn’t realise how prescient he is. Assuming young Asher survives the next 50 years, he’s likely to remember this scene and the advice given. Perhaps that’s for the sequel to this novel 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Jan,

      Nice to see you’re not anonymous this week. 😉 Asher is a young man who’s already had some very hard life lessons. I’m enjoying the growing relationship between these two. Thanks, dearest. ❤


  • Dear Rochelle,

    What a great glimpse into what we have to look forward to…

    There are definitely two schools on whether or not to be proud and show it or keep it on the down-low. Must have been a terrible choice to have to make for some.

    Wonderfully done!

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      I’m sure as the writing of this novel is taking up a lot more headspace than Friday Fictioneers, you’ll definitely be seeing more of my characters. I will consider your suggestion. 😉 Thank you.




    • Dear David,

      It’s great to see you here. Life is busy with art shows and a fourth book having just come out. The dreamed of coffee table companion book. 😀 Your comment makes me smile since it comes on the heels of a really negative comment on Please Say Kaddish for Me on Amazon, where one of the many negative things she said was that my characters were more like caricatures. :/ Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Will Asher be comfortable about not wearing it? His Uncle has a point – Asher’s life could be restricted by advertising his background. I was born to British, Christian parents in Australia, but none of these facts defined what I did with my life. Being Jewish is different and Asher has a tough choice to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Liz,

      Asher has a tough road ahead. But then, would the book be interesting if he didn’t? 😉 It’s always hard to be different but the persecutors took it to a whole new level. Thank you




    • Dear Brenda,

      I’m so glad that you understood my characters. It’s not so easy to convey their personalities in few words, but it seems I did, at least for you. 😀 Thank you for your affirming comment.




  • I am not very well versed in Jewish culture, but the dynamic between the characters was welcoming and had that interesting and immersive cultural dynamic. Different cultures have different philosophies towards life- It’s interesting to me that there is this balance between pride and pragmatism here. Which in the context of the historic treatment of the Jewish people is pretty dark.

    I enjoyed that little snippet of life 🙂

    Awesome work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      To tell the truth, Hirsh started out as a bad guy. But little by little we learn that his words are fueled by deep hurts of the past. I myself am in the process of learning who these people are and what motivates them. 😀 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Doris Salacia W(T)F,

    So you’re writing a book entitled, “What are Heart Worms?” I suppose this about boy (not named Timmy) who’s Jewish dog (not named Lassie) is stricken with a dreaded affliction and must be quarantined. Hopefully, a Gentile puppy (not named Rin-Tin-Tin) will develope a vaccine and save the day.

    Hope this helps with plot development,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dawn,

      I wasn’t too sure of Uncle Hirsh at first either. He started out being something of a villain but has written himself in a different direction. 😉 Note: When I started writing Please Say Kaddish for Me, Gittel was going to be a shrew who rubbed Havah’s nose in the fact that she and not Havah was betrothed to Arel. And you see how that turned out. Gittel refused to be even the lightest bit mean. Such is writing. Thank you.




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