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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 250
Themes: European history, intolerance, refugees
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 23/Sep/2013
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The story that began in the novel Rachel's Secret continues in Rachel's Promise. With his drunken father out of work, fifteen-year-old Sergei leaves for a factory job in St. Petersburg. But factory life in 1904 Russia is unimaginably difficult, and Sergei soon joins the workers rebelling against inhumane conditions.

Forced to leave Russia because of continuing riots against Jews, Sergei's sweetheart, Rachel, takes the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia to board a ship to Shanghai. Like Sergei, Rachel must abandon her studies and work to support her family.

Rachel and Sergei are both working to save enough money to move to America for a better life. Rachel's dream of becoming a journalist is encouraged by an unlikely friend in Shanghai, and Sergei becomes ever more embroiled in the politics of revolutionary Russia. Separated by thousands of miles, Sergei and Rachel cling to each other through letters, which become the brightest parts of their lives. Both hope for a future that will see them reunited and their dreams fulfilled.

The J. Weekly
"It reads like historical fiction, but much of Rachel’s Promise, the second book in Shelly Sanders’ 'The Rachel Trilogy,' is based on fact. Sanders’ grandmother Rachel eventually left Shanghai for San Francisco, enrolled at U.C. Berkeley and became the first Jewish woman to be accepted into the university’s science program, graduating in 1930."
CM Magazine
"The intense drama of each of these young people's stories provides an opportunity for Sanders to explore some fundamental questions about life...While their struggles may sound bleak and depressing, Sanders' characters are anything but. Rachel is an intelligent, loving young woman. Her courage and determination are clear as she seeks out opportunities to become a writer despite the many obstacles in her path. And while Sergei's struggle seems more desperate, he, too, inspires hope through his determination to do the right thing...Best suited to students with an interest in historical fiction...Highly Recommended."
Historical Novel Society
"A wrenching story of a Russian-Jewish family fleeing the pogroms of the early 20th century...Sanders combines her own family history with larger known historical events—the Russo-Japanese War, the organized strikes of pre-revolutionary Russia and the Jewish community that settled in Shanghai. The style, with its simple declarative sentences, makes this a fine choice for younger readers."

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