International Books for Adults / Reference

There Was Night and There Was Morning

A Memoir of Trauma and Redemption

By Sara Sherbill (Author)


Pub Date 9/24/2024

ISBN 9781454955313

Format Hardcover, Jacketed



There Was Night and There Was Morning

A Memoir of Trauma and Redemption

by Sara Sherbill
A searing memoir about growing up in a fiercely loving, abusive rabbinical family in which the author’s father, the charismatic head of a splinter Orthodox religious community, demands unswerving loyalty—and a commitment to guarding terrible secrets.

Sara Sherbill was raised by a father who was both a representative of God and a broken man harboring an intricate set of secrets. Her riveting story explores what happens when a daughter is tasked with keeping those secrets, and the cost of keeping them. It asks: How do we live with suffering? What does it mean to heal? In the face of unspeakable harm, what can be reclaimed? Sherbill’s tale, written with grace and brutal honesty, reveals her struggle to reclaim her identity as a daughter, woman, and now mother. Most of all, it’s a story about learning to live alongside our traumas without letting them consume us—what some might call redemption.
“Sherbill masterfully explores the fragile bonds of family and faith with courage and clarity. . . . She illuminates how darkness can coexist with compassion, how a father’s shadow cannot extinguish a daughter’s light.”
—Alyson Richman, internationally bestselling author of The Thread Collectors (with Shaunna J. Edwards) and The Lost Wife

"Revelatory and luminous . . . a spellbinding saga of domestic violence that shows us, with great precision and deep compassion, the lifelong aftershocks on an entire family. I couldn't put this book down, and now I can't stop thinking about it."
—Stephen Mills, author of Chosen: A Memoir of Stolen Boyhood (2022 Jewish Book Council memoir winner)

“This is an extraordinary piece of work. Powerful, beautiful, original. I am in awe of the command of voice. . . . A triumph.“—Mary Gordon, author of Pearl: A Novel

“Can prayers, if not well-kept, grow holes and spoil? What happens when rituals that keep us safe also betray us? After all our prayers have forgotten us, how can we learn to pray again? Sara Sherbill's There Was Night and There Was Morning is a spellbinding memoir that lays what is holy bare.“—Sabrina Orah Mark, author of Happily

“An unflinching, deeply affecting account of family, faith and abuse. This book brings us close to the devastating ways in which a family can come apart and, at the same time, is a testament to the redemptive power of telling your own story.”—Tova Mirvis, author of The Book of Separation

“Fiercely brave, eloquent, and brilliant in its evocation of a family teetering on the brink of catastrophe shrouded beneath religious devotion and the myth of perfection, There Was Night and There Was Morning is nothing short of a tour de force. Sara Sherbill has expertly crafted a harrowing story of truth and transcendence that will stay with me forever.”—Elissa Altman, author of Motherland

“Searing and vulnerable, this heartbreaking story reads like a pre-war memoir of Jewish life, its seasons and rituals and sensations. But at its center lies a dark and timely undercurrent, which coincides with our post–#MeToo moment. As the history of a father and rabbi’s hidden life of addiction and abuse emerges, Sara’s courage, honesty, and refusal to compromise her integrity as a daughter, mother, and writer, will leave you awestruck.”—Ariel Burger, author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom

“This book took my breath away. Sara Sherbill’s voice is clear, intimate, and fearless. There Was Night and There Was Morning is a brutal exploration of abuse and its aftermath, but it is also the story of a tremendous and evolving family, gorgeously written. I am so glad I read it and I won’t forget it.”—Hanna Halperin, author of I Could Live Here Forever


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Sara Sherbill writes about mental health, domestic violence, and Jewish identity. Her work has appeared in Slate, The Forward, Tablet, and Kveller. She has worked as an independent editor for the past decade after beginning her career at Alfred A. Knopf. She lives in Washington, DC.

Title Details

Pages 272 pages

Trim 5.5 x 8.25 x 0 Inches

Territories WENG

Category Reference

Carton Quantity 32