"Richly nuanced and beautiful. . . . An immersive and magical tale of loneliness, love, and finding hope.” (Buzzfeed)
“A layered novel of many complex characters…To keep their worlds safe, Chava and Ahmad must access both their greatest supernatural powers and their deepest human impulses.” (Historical Novels Review)
In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world.
Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, who can hear the thoughts and longings of those around her and feels compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a restless creature of fire, once free to roam the desert but now imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.
Both Chava and Ahmad have changed the lives of the people around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets Dima, a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector.
Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?
About the Author
Helene Wecker received a BA from Carleton College in Minnesota and an MFA from Columbia University in New York. A Chicago-area native who has made her home in Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York, she now lives near San Francisco with her husband and daughter. The Golem and the Jinni is her first novel.
“A layered novel of many complex characters, including even richer developments of the golem Chava and the jinni Ahmad…To keep their worlds safe, Chava and Ahmad must access both their greatest supernatural powers and their deepest human impulses.”
— Historical Novels Review
“A blend of romance, Mary Shelley-esque horror, and folklore. . . . Wecker skillfully combines the storylines of Chava the Golem and Ahmad the Jinni and numerous other players, good and evil, in an enchanting tale that pleases on every page.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Impressive…storytelling à la Dickens…A satisfying, mature sequel to The Golem and the Jinni, continuing the magical story of two immigrant mythological characters from the turn of the 20th century to the outbreak of WWI.”
— Publishers Weekly
"Richly nuanced and beautiful. . . . Wecker skillfully draws together these disparate lives and characters in an immersive and magical tale of loneliness, love, and finding hope.”
“In Wecker’s novel, real-life events—the sinking of the Titanic, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire or the Great War—have an inexorable impact on mortal and supernatural characters alike. From one crisis to the next, a strange and unbreakable alliance develops among many persons and elemental creatures, burgeoning into something even more marvelous. . . . Fans of The Golem and the Jinni have waited eight years for this sequel. It has been worth the wait.”
— BookPage (starred review)
"A measured, gorgeous, character-driven fantasy."
“The Hidden Palace recaptures the assured voice, the delicate magic, the solid historical verisimilitude, and engaging interplay of personalities of The Golem and the Jinni…But Wecker deepens, extends, and culminates all the story arcs, leaving the reader very satisfied.”
“A rich literary novel that digs into what it means to be human, by setting up a series of meaningful contrasts from characters who aren’t."
— Polygon Best Fantasy & Science Fiction Novel of the Year
“One of the delights of The Hidden Palace is that it traverses many genres as it continues the tale of the unlikely friendship between Chava Levy, a golem, and Ahmad al-Hadid, a jinni…A work of fantasy, historical fiction, modern-day mythology or even romance…A gem deserving a wide readership.”
— Hadassah Magazine