Rachel Sarai's Vineyard, by Ruth Deborah

I have just had the pleasure of reading a copy of Rachel Sarai's Vineyard written by SFN member Ruth Deborah. The book has to be one of my top five books of all time, it is a beautifully written book that touched me in so many ways.

The subject matter of the book may not be to everyones taste, the story is set during the second world war, and centres around a young child who helps her Father by carrying secrete message in her shoes and escorting people across the moors.. At first I thought that this would be the main story of the book, for in its self it is worthy of a book, though the real story is an account of one woman's hatred and evil towards the little girl, Rachel Sarai. The story deals with the complex relationship between Rachel Sari and a little but pure evil"mother".

The book does not shy away from anything, be warned that there is a great deal of graphic accounts in this book, with rape and abortion detailed, though not for shock purposes.

It is one of the most emotional and shocking books that I have ever read, and it has stayed in my mind even after reading it. I experienced a whole host of emotions reading the book, from laughter to anger, from revulsion to anger, it is an intense read.

Although I believe it is/has been published as a novel it is very clear from the start that this is not a work of fiction but a brutally honest account of the authors early life. I challenge anyone to read this and not be moved.

Me too I'm starting the reading of Rachel Sarai's Vineyard. I'll let my feeling as soon as possible.

As I discussed with Deborah Ruth about her story, which is not a fiction but her true childhood's story, I was immediately interested. It may be read as a novel, thank to the author's talent! This way, the reader can dive into the telling quite easily! And so on, the true events as main components of the work could be interpreted as a fiction-- a few readers don't like biographies! The WWII was filled by numerous situations: conspiracy, bravery, cruelty, even the most brutal madness. They were the worse years that the human history never lived from the earliest ages.

On reading the book Charlotte Vale's words to her domineering and hateful mother in Now Voyager (1942) come to mind, "Dr. Jaquith says that tyranny is sometimes an expression of the maternal instinct. If that's a mother's love, I want no part of it"

Totally agree with you. This was my review on Amazon when I first read Rachel Sarai's Vineyard, and it's very similar to yours


The background for this story is occupied Holland during WWII. There's cold and hunger and fear, and the safety of Jewish escapees hiding in her house rests on the wits and guile of a six-year-old child acting as a decoy when the Germans search the house, carrying messages in her shoes and bluffing her way past the enemy.

But this aspect is merely the background for the real story, a sickening account of one woman's hatred and calculated cruelty towards Rachel Sarai. A monstrous, manipulative "mother" who rules by fear and whose actions will scar Rachel Sarai for the rest of her life.

There's a great deal of graphic unpleasantness in this book: rape, abortion, explicit sexual scenes that are horrifying and yet make compulsive reading. It's probably the most emotionally draining book that I have ever read, yet something keeps drawing me back to it. Although it's published as a novel, any reader who has known abuse as a child - myself included - will recognise from the author's intensely visceral writing that there's nothing fictional about this account. It's a scream of agony from a mortally wounded soul.