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"The Hidden Palace": Chava and Ahmad's Journey Continues

posted on: Jan 11, 2023

By: Alison Norquist / Contributing Writer

In Helene Wecker’s sophomore novel, the story of Chava, a golem, and Ahmad, a jinni, continues to wreak havoc in the streets of early 1900s New York City. The mythological duo is tested as they face new enemies, save old friends, and help the next generation of their kind.

Before The Hidden Palace

Last we saw Chava and Ahmad in The Golem and The Jinni, Ahmad was traveling the deserts of Syria to bury the flask he was once trapped in. After defeating the powerful sorcerer who trapped him, Ahmad seeks out his own kind to guard his prisoner. Still trapped in human form, he must face the jinn in shame. Meanwhile, Chava is leaving her long-held position at Radzin’s bakery. Her lack of aging is beginning to become suspicious. She looks to the future with hope as she receives news that Ahmad will return to her soon.

The Beginning

Early on in the book, Chava and Ahmad decide that it is best that they part ways. Ahmad continues to work with his friend Arbeely in their now luxurious showroom in Little Syria while Chava, begins her studies to become a home economics teacher. They no longer take their winter strolls through the streets, instead, they find what little solace they can in the humans they have formed relationships.

Meanwhile, Sophia, Ahmad’s former lover, searches the deserts of the Middle East for a cure for her strange ailment. She shivers in the middle of the summer, never able to warm herself. Her travels take her to Palmyra, now modern-day Homs, where she joins archeologists in excavating the ancient ruins.


This new edition also introduces us to heartbreak. Arbeely, after battling a long illness, succumbs and passes. This leads the Jinni to spiral, shutting the business down and ripping apart the building they shared. He begins to form a fantastic structure, a palace, from iron and glass. He spent three years working on this palace, completely shutting off the world as it became more modern around him.

A new character, Kreindel, is introduced as she loses her father. A rabbi who became aware of Chava’s savior, Rabbi Meyer, becomes obsessed with the Kaballah magic that can bring a golem to life. While she helps her father in his creation, the labor becomes too high of a price and he passes in a fire. Now an orphan, Kreindel awakens her golem, a crude creation compared to Chava.

The Threads Come Together

Just as in her first work, Helene Wecker weaves the threads together to create a gorgeous tapestry of humanity, mystery, magic, and love. Characters new and old come together to save one another, proving that there is an unbroken bond among even the most distant of friends.

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