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Eyes of Emerald by Harvey Stelman and Andy Nathan

Updated on January 9, 2011
Chang Family Palace
Chang Family Palace

Eyes of Emerald

Eyes of Emerald is a romantic story of the coming of age of Esther Rothstein, a beautiful young girl whose Jewish parents and grandmother emigrated from Russia in the 1920s or 30s. It’s based on a family story passed on by his father to author Harvey Stelman. It’s a heartwarming coming-of-age tale of assimilation issues involving diet, dating, romance and marriage faced by the children of many immigrants to the American melting pot.

The story begins with Esther Rothstein’s 1933 Seward Park High School graduation ceremony in Manhattan where Esther had been elected prom queen. Improbably, according to the story, the ceremony was rudely interrupted by two troublemaker boys throwing tomatoes at the principal, Miss Caulfield, from the balcony of the auditorium. The culprits were quickly apprehended, their names recorded, and escorted out of the hall. The day after her graduation Esther finds a secretarial job at Finkelbaum’s Textiles where her best friend Rebecca Feingold had been working for a year. Soon Esther has her first non-kosher meal at The House of Chang, a local Chinese restaurant where she was taken by her friend, Rebecca. Rebecca introduced Esther to the handsome, young proprietor, Sammy Chang.

Esther quickly fell for Sammy and he for her. After several more lunches with Rebecca at the House of Chang, Sammy asks her out, forcing Esther to face the issue of what she was sure would be an unfavorable reaction from her family if she were to date someone who was not Jewish. After being fixed up with a blind date with a local Jewish boy who turned out to be a total dud, and another unsuccessful date with a handsome son of the Rabbi who invited her to a bar mitzvah as a beard to hide the fact that he was secretly dating an Irish Catholic girl, Esther succumbs to Sammy Chang’s persistent invitations. Not long after, Sammy is summoned by his father to return to China to take charge of a military campaign in the battle between Chang Kai Chek and Maoist guerillas who were threatening to take over the province where Sammy’s father was governor. After failing to persuade Esther to come with him, he kidnaps her and takes her with him aboard a boat heading from New York to China. The story goes on from there until an improbable ending which you’ll have to read the book to discover.

The book is a fast read which held my interest from beginning to end.Highly recommended. Great job, Harvey!


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    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Great job Harvey!! that was wonderful. And to Ralph, thank you for this review.

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks much, Pop! H

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Congratulations Harvey and thank you Ralph for the review. I must read this!

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      Ralph, I wish to thank you very much for your review. It was wonderful of you to take your personal time to write

      this Hub. H

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I ordered it, finally. I am waiting for Amazon to deliver it.

      This is nice for you to support Harv.

      Keep on hubbing!