Reviews for Silver Cup

Booklist Reviews 2007 February #2
In the year 1095, the world of German teen Anna upends: her mentally slow youngest brother disappears, possibly at the hands of her hard-hearted stepmother; mounting enthusiasm for a Holy War ensnares a favorite cousin; and, at Anna's insistence, her father takes in orphaned Leah, a Jew whose silver kiddush cup is all that remains of her massacred family. Leeds' patient story development convincingly informs her protagonist's choices, unpopular in a time and place that cast Jews as "devil's people," while meticulous details capture the seasonal rhythms of daily life--from winter's cabin fever to the brutal, disgusting process of preparing live eels for Lenten supper. Some readers may long for a more narrowly focused plot for this first novel, but YAs who gravitate to historical fiction will appreciate the author's research, obvious in the rich storytelling as well as in the thoughtful end matter. The tender friendship that develops between Anna and Leah will also speak to teens, who may recognize their own deep attachments in the girls' unlikely bond. ((Reviewed February 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Intricate details of late-eleventh-century life enrich this story of religious prejudice, unfaltering courage, and the friendship between two girls, one Christian, one Jewish. Leeds's emotive narrative centers on the 1096 Crusades and their catastrophic consequences for Jews inhabiting towns and villages on the Rhine River in what would become Germany. A map, author's note, and list of foreign phrases are included. Glos. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2007 March #2
Fifteen-year-old Anna lives in a small German village in 1095, a year that will bring great changes. Her cousin Thomas disappears mysteriously and Anna suspects her Aunt Agnes of foul play. Then her cousin Martin joins an army of Crusaders that destroys the Jewish community in nearby Worms. Eight hundred lives are lost in three days, but Anna discovers one little girl who survived the horrific violence, and they become friends. Debut novelist Leeds's rich, sensory prose captures a time and place in a wealth of particular details, from everyday domestic life to the violence directed at the Jews along the Rhine, depicted quite graphically. Anna seems a girl of her times, with what feels like an authentic medieval outlook on her world. The motivations of the Crusaders and the excesses possible in a holy war are related clearly. Seasons change and friendship grows, and Anna's story becomes one of courage, kindness and hope in her corner of the medieval world. (author's note, historical note, glossary, foreign phrases) (Fiction. 12+) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2007 June

Gr 6-9-- Sixteen-year-old Anna and her widowed father, Gunther, lead the life of a trading family in 11th-century Germany at the outset of the First Crusade. When her father takes her with him on a journey to the Jewish quarter of Worms, the teen encounters Leah, daughter of the spice merchant. Anna is intrigued by the differece in their lifestyles despite the prejudicial viewpoint of many of her fellow villagers, including her aunt and naively ignorant cousin, Martin. In search of excitement and glory, the boy runs away to join a Crusader army unit, while a renegade group of soldiers storms through the Jewish area in a rampage of destruction and massacre. Anna discovers Leah as the sole survivor, hiding and clutching her father's silver cup, used to bless wine for the Sabbath meal and other holidays. Ignoring the jeopardy she will cause herself and Gunther, Anna takes the girl home and eventually helps her to seek a new life in a distant Jewish community. This well-crafted novel juxtaposes historical events and the cruelty of religiously based politics with the human qualities of courage, fortitude, and, most of all, hope. Leeds provides mystery and authenticity about the period's lack of tolerance for the misfit or imperfect child through the disappearance--and implied murder--of Martin's mentally slow, mute younger brother while on a walk in the woods with his mother, who had "often scared him into tears." An intriguing and suspenseful portrayal of Europe's early medieval days.--Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI

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