Rachel's Promise

Rachel's Promise


By Shelly Sanders 


Worlds apart, two young people try to make their way: she in Shanghai, China and he in revolutionary Russia

It is late 1903, and Rachel and her family are leaving Russia to escape the murderous riots against Jews. They travel cross country on the Trans-Siberian Railway to the coast and board a ship for Shanghai. China offers refuge, but life for them there is difficult and strange. Rachel is determined to ensure her family’s survival, but does not want to give up her dreams for her future. The opportunity to write for a Jewish newspaper in Shanghai may be the solution she’s been hoping for.

Still in Russia, Rachel’s friend Sergei leaves home for a factory job in St. Petersburg to help support his family. The reality of life in the city is a shock, and the factory work dangerous. Sergei soon joins the rebelling workers, but realizes he has traded one source of danger for another. 

Separated by so much, the two teenagers try to make their way in the turbulent political times of the early 20th century—their only connection the letters they write, and their fierce hope for the future. 

Book Two in The Rachel Trilogy

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About the Author

Shelly Sanders has worked as a freelance writer for almost twenty years. The character of Rachel in Rachel's Secret and Rachel’s Promise was inspired by Shelly's grandmother, a Russian Jew who fled to Shanghai to escape persecution and then made her way to the United States, where she was the first Jewish woman to be accepted into the University of California, Berkeley’s science program. Shelly lives in Oakville, Ontario with her family.

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Product Information

  • Release: September 16, 2013

  • $12.95 Paperback

  • 250 Pages

  • 5.5 x 8.25

  • Young Adult Fiction

  • Ages 13-18 / Grades 8-12

  • ISBN: 9781927583142


  • Character Education
    > Prejudice & Tolerance
    > Strong Female Characters

  • Language Arts
    > Historical Fiction

  • History & Social Studies
    > Global Cultures
    > War & Conflict

  • Diaspora & Immigration


Praise for Rachel's Promise

"Sanders beautifully balances the alternating stories of Sergei and Rachel, who are mere teenagers caught in the cross-fire of persecution during extreme political upheaval. Her main characters are authentic, with each having a very distinct voice. The book is a page-turner." - Children's Books Heal

"Sanders combines her own family history with larger known historical events – the Russo-Japanese War, the organized strikes of pre-revolutionary Russia and the Jewish community that settled in Shanghai. The style, with its simple declarative sentences, makes this a fine choice for younger readers." - Historical Novel Society

"Sanders vividly describes the poor conditions of the factory workers while contrasting their lives with the extravagance of the czar’s castle and those of diplomats in St. Petersburg. In addition, she conveys information about the Jewish immigrant community in Shanghai during the early twentieth century. Recommended for all libraries." - AJL Reviews - Association of Jewish Libraries

"On its own Rachel's Promise is an educational, well researched novel. Sanders based her novel on her grandmother's life, included actual historical events and many of the characters really existed. the rich history and setting drew me into the story." - Resource Links