Ronald Florence

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Provenance

Two ancient books link the lives and dreams of ordinary people across centuries. The backgrounds, locales, and the books—a definitive Hebrew bible and an unusual prayer book for women—are real. Seamlessly blending history and fiction, Provenance is a mystery and an unforgettable story of love, passion, yearning, and trust.


“An amazing voyage through layers of history. Florence has a mastery of combining facts and fiction to evoke a powerful sense of character and a wondrously atmospheric sense of places and times. One of the best novels I have read in years.”

— Katharina Galor, Brown University



“Florence’s inventiveness sounds a magical voice that makes the pages of Jewish history breathe and sing.”

Jewish Voice & Herald



“In Provenance, acclaimed author Ronald Florence deploys his formidable talents as a historian and raconteur to weave together an intricate tale of an unusual women’s prayer book and a cherished medieval Hebrew bible manuscript, the Crown of Aleppo, whose survival to modernity is both perilous and virtually miraculous. As the Crown travels across centuries from Egypt to Provence to Aleppo, Israel and Brooklyn, its fate interweaves and transforms the lives of a rich array of characters, each enchantingly evoked by Florence’s elegant prose. An illuminating read.”

— Ross S. Kraemer, author of Unreliable Witnesses



“This is what I call ‘literature—when there is both ‘le fond et la forme,’ when one travels in time and places, when the author's ‘erudition’ is made even more enjoyable thanks to his sense of humor and a slight distance. I can't wait to read Ronald's other novels …”

—Catherine Saubion, Bordeaux, France



Selected Works

History
... eminently readable history ... both an adventure yarn and a profound tragedy made up of hope, suspicion, fear, and confusion; all this against the background of the deportation trains leaving daily for Auschwitz.
—István Deák, The New Republic
Florence chronicles the birth of the modern Middle East by narrating the intersecting lives of two remarkable men.… skillfully blends geopolitical history and cloak-and-dagger tales ...
The New Yorker
... reads like a first rate murder mystery thriller. But it is not a thriller. It is an account of a disastrous accusation against an entire community. Nor is it only history. Tragically, today the same horrible accusations— long thought to be buried— are once again being voiced. All this makes Blood Libel a book of contemporary significance.
—Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust
… a perfect job of science writing for the general public. Over to you, Pulitzer Prize Committee …
—Arthur C. Clarke
Novels
Florence's inventiveness sounds a magical voice that makes the pages of Jewish history breathe and sing.

Jewish Voice & Herald

Only when you read two or three new books a week for five or six years do you realize how truly rare a novel like this is.…
—Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times