The Weight of Ink
A Novel by Rachel Kadish
The Weight of Ink is a historical novel superbly crafted by writer Rachel Kadish. It is not the sort of book I would normally have picked out for myself, but it was gifted to me by someone special and is so well written that I honestly couldn’t put it down.
It is a story of historical sleuthing based on papers found hidden away in an old home in Richmond, Surrey. Ms. Kadish creates a handful of compelling characters to tell her tale as she weaves her story back and forth between plague-ravaged London of the mid-1600s and present-day London.
The Weight of Ink is the tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam, who through chance and circumstance becomes a scribe for a blind rabbi, and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. It is Ester’s story Helen strives to uncover and what a story it is. Ester documents the Jewish diaspora, the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, and the rich trade of the City of Amsterdam, all the while scribing for the rabbi in his London home. And she also lives through the Great Plague. Ester manages to communicate with some of the great philosophers of the day and express her own ideas.
There is also an appearance made by a certain bard who shall be nameless here but was named in the book. I kept waiting for him to appear as there were hints dropped along the way and I was not disappointed.
It is truly a remarkable feat to behold and a fabulous read!