Monday, June 27, 2022

Spotlight of Rebecca of Salerno by Esther Erman


Historical mystery picks up where Ivanhoe left off 200 years ago.

A unique extension of a literary classic, author Esther Erman has blended historical romance and mystery in her new novel, Rebecca of Salerno: A Novel of Rogue Crusaders, a Jewish Female Physician, and a Murder.

Inspired by the 1820 novel Ivanhoe, which introduced us to the legend of Robin Hood through the side character of Locksley, Erman highlights Rebecca from the novel.

Rebecca shines with adventure and female empowerment as a beautiful, brilliant, and brave jewish woman, who after falling deeply in love with a man she couldn’t marry, vowed to stay single and have a career as a healer.

At the time, none of this was normal for a jewish woman.

(She Writes Press, August 2, 2022) 



With grace and verve, Esther Erman revives the character of Rebecca of Ivanhoe fame, bringing that valiant and resourceful heroine to Salerno. Trained as a physician in this medieval oasis of tolerance and learning, Rebecca hopes to leave her memories of England behind. However, embroiled in an attempt save a rabbi falsely accused of murdering a Crusader, she once again learns how expendable her fellow Jews are when faced with antisemitic sentiment.”– Michelle Cameron, award-winning author of The Fruit of Her Hands and Beyond the Ghetto Gates

“In Rebecca of Salerno, Erman creates a rich historical tapestry rife with fascinating characters and an intriguing, page-turning story. Readers will be dazzled by the descriptions of life and school in medieval Salerno and fall in love with the smart, passionate Rebecca as she pursues her dreams—and justice—in this satisfying mystery.”– Hannah Jayne, Best Selling Author of Truly, Madly, Deadly and The Girl in the Headlines

“Ms Erman writes a compelling story of a passionate Jewish heroine solving a murder mystery in the brutal setting of the Crusades. The depth of her knowledge of the customs and language of this period is unsurpassed. A book to be read with relish by lovers of historical fiction.”– Neil Kaplan, Author - Acquiring Polish Citizenship by Descent

“...The reader discovers a strong, brave woman who, while pursuing a path to become a healer in the face of great odds, holds on tenaciously to basic Jewish values like the pursuit of justice. How her values are tested is a constant theme in the narrative. We are privy not only to Rebecca’s actions and words but to her thoughts and inner struggles as well. This is a compelling story.”– Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, author of Torah Of Reconciliation and Letters Home: A Jewish Chaplain's Vietnam Memoir

“Rebecca of Salerno gives voice to one of literature’s overlooked heroines, the courageous, intelligent, big-hearted Rebecca of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.  In telling Rebecca’s story, Esther Erman deftly weaves a wealth of historical detail about the lives of Jewish women in medieval Europe into a gripping, fast-paced tale of vengeance, love, and healing… Erman’s masterful achievement left me feeling moved and inspired.”– Professor Juliet Shields, Dept. of Humanities, Northumbria University, author of Nation and Migration

“...Erman has produced a superb work of historical fiction. It is everything the genre begs for: romance, intrigue, and a captivating mystery…Rebecca of Salerno is not only an enjoyable read, it is a history lesson for Jews and gentiles alike.”– Sara Zeff Geber, PhD, Free-lance author


Broken-hearted after fleeing England and her ill-fated love for the Christian knight Ivanhoe, Rebecca discovers the medical school in Salerno, where Jews, Christians, and Moslems—men and women—can study together. 

Still in thrall to Ivanhoe, she resists traditional and societal demands on women to wed and bear children, instead building her life as a physician. 

But the dawn of the thirteenth century brought political changes that threatened the security of Jewish life in the Kingdom of Sicily.

When a rabbi is falsely accused of murdering a crusader, Rebecca and Rafael, the man who loves her, throw themselves into pursuing justice and protecting their community.



Like her heroine, Rebecca, Esther Erman was a refugee. A naturalized citizen, she early developed a passion for language, which led to her earning a doctorate in language education, writing her dissertation about the Yiddish language, and working with international students on many levels.

A multi-published author, Esther now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband. 

When they’re not traveling—especially to be with family in other parts of the US and in England—she loves to bake, quilt, and add to her monumental book collection. 

Find out more about them at 


1 comment:

  1. Sound very interesting….thanks for stopping.

    Adding it to your TBR?