MJCCA Book Fest- Rachel Beanland and Julie Gerstenblatt

November 6, 2023 Atlanta $13.00 - $16.00
CAL_1106 Rachel Beanland and Julie Gerstenblatt Oct 31

The 32nd Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA Presents Rachel Beanland, The House is on Fire: A Novel, and Julie Gerstenblatt, Daughters of Nantucket: A Novel. In Conversation with Zoe Fishman, Bestselling Author and 2020 Georgia Author of the Year. Author Talk, Q & A & Book Signing.


Rachel Beanland, The House is on Fire

Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, 1811. At the city’s only the­ater, the Charleston-based Placide & Green Com­pa­ny puts on two plays a night to meet the demand of a pop­u­lace that’s done look­ing for enlight­en­ment at the front of a church.

On the night after Christ­mas, the the­ater is packed with more than six hun­dred hol­i­day rev­el­ers. In the third floor box­es, sits new­ly-wid­owed Sal­ly Hen­ry Camp­bell, who is glad for any oppor­tu­ni­ty to relive the hap­py times she shared with her hus­band. One floor away, in the col­ored gallery, Ceci­ly Pat­ter­son does­n’t give a whit about the play but is grate­ful for a four-hour reprieve from a life that has recent­ly gone from bad to worse. Back­stage, young stage­hand Jack Gib­son hopes that, if he can impress the the­ater’s man­agers, he’ll be offered a per­ma­nent job with the com­pa­ny. And on the oth­er side of town, black­smith Gilbert Hunt dreams of one day being able to bring his wife to the the­ater, but he’ll have to buy her free­dom first.

When the the­ater goes up in flames in the mid­dle of the per­for­mance, Sal­ly, Ceci­ly, Jack, and Gilbert make a series of split-sec­ond deci­sions that will not only affect their own lives but those of count­less oth­ers. And in the days fol­low­ing the fire, as news of the dis­as­ter spreads across the Unit­ed States, the paths of these four peo­ple will become for­ev­er intertwined.



Rachel Bean­land is the author of the nov­el Flo­rence Adler Swims For­ev­er. She is a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na and earned her MFA in cre­ative writ­ing from Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­si­ty. She lives with her hus­band and three chil­dren in Rich­mond, Virginia.


Julie Gerstenblatt, Daughters of Nantucket

Set against Nan­tuck­et’s Great Fire of 1846, this sweep­ing, emo­tion­al nov­el brings togeth­er three coura­geous women bat­tling to save every­thing they hold dear.

Nan­tuck­et in 1846 is an island set apart not just by its geog­ra­phy but by its unique cir­cum­stances. With their men­folk away at sea, often for years at a time, women here know a rare inde­pen­dence–and the chal­lenges that go with it.

Eliza Macy is strug­gling to con­ceal her finan­cial trou­ble as she waits for her whal­ing cap­tain hus­band to return from a voy­age. In des­per­a­tion, she turns against her pro­gres­sive ideals and tar­gets Meg Wright, a preg­nant free Black woman try­ing to relo­cate her store to Main Street. Mean­while, astronomer Maria Mitchell loves run­ning Nan­tuck­et’s Atheneum and spend­ing her nights observ­ing the stars, yet she fears reveal­ing the secret wish­es of her heart.

When a mas­sive fire breaks out in town, these women are forced to reeval­u­ate their pri­or­i­ties and decide what to save, what to let go and what kind of life to rebuild from the ash­es of the past.



Julie Ger­sten­blatt holds a doc­tor­ate in Cur­ricu­lum and Instruc­tion from Teach­ers Col­lege, Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, and has taught every­thing from mid­dle school to grad­u­ate school. Her essays have appeared in The Huff­in­g­ton Post, Kveller, Cognoscen­ti, and Grown & Flown, among oth­ers. A native New York­er, Julie now lives in coastal Rhode Island with her fam­i­ly and one very smart shichon poo.



Zoe Fishman is the 2020 Georgia Author of the Year in the Literary Fiction category. She’s the recipient of several other awards, and her books have been published in five languages. She’s taught creative writing at The Decatur Writers Studio at which she was also the Director and in Emory’s Continuing Education program in addition to SCAD Atlanta and The Galloway School.


Books will be available for purchase on the day of the event from our partner bookseller, A Cappella Books!

+ More... - Less...
Fact Sheet
Monday, November 6, 2023, 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
5342 Tilly Mill Rd
Atlanta, GA 30338
$13.00 Member Ticket
$16.00 Community Ticket
Filed Under:

More From...

More At...