One Bay One Book is a year-long conversation connecting Bay Area readers through discussions, events, and informal conversations centered around a single title and its themes.

Join the conversation! A limited number of sets of The Hidden Palace are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis through the Library’s Book Club in a Box program, or you may purchase the book through Afikomen here or another independent bookstore here, or borrow the eBook through the Library. For more information about One Bay One Book, write to

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker

“An enchanting tale that pleases on every page.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“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.” — Buzzfeed

“Fans of The Golem and the Jinni have waited eight years for this sequel. It has been worth the wait.”  BookPage (starred review)

In this enchanting historical epic—the long-awaited follow-up to the bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in turn-of-the-century New York City in the years leading to World War I.

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. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined. Fearing that they will be exposed, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human—just two more displaced immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Combining historical events with elements of Jewish folklore and fantasy, the novel follows Chava and Ahmad as they encounter other beings like themselves and seek to find their places in a rapidly changing human world.

It is not necessary to have read The Golem and the Jinni to enjoy The Hidden Palace. However, for those who would like to read it, the Library has individual copies and book group sets of the earlier novel.

Community Discussions

Congregation Sherith Israel, San Francisco
May 23
Contact Julie for more information

Coastside Jewish Community Book Club
May 26
Contact Vaughn for more information

Past discussions:

Temple Emanu-El Sefer Club, San Jose
September 12

Beth Am, Los Altos Hills
September 13

Congregation Etz Chayim, Palo Alto
December 12
Contact Aaron for more information

Hadassah, Berkeley
December 16
Contact Lisa for more information

Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley
December 19
Contact Barbara for more information

B’nai Israel Jewish Center, Petaluma
December 28
Contact Judy for more information

The Jewish American Fiction Book Club
January 12
Contact David for more information

Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Foster City
Facilitated by Jim Van Buskirk
January 25
Click here for more information and to register

Rodef Shalom Book Club
February 7
Contact Alice for more information

Congregation Beth Ami, Santa Rosa
February 20
Contact Linda for more information

Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto
Women’s Book Club
March 2
Contact Flaurie for more information

Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo
April 7
Contact Lisa for more information

Kehilla Community Synagogue
April 11
Contact Tree for more information

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Helene Wecker

Helene Wecker holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia University. Her first novel, The Golem and the Jinni, was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Joyland and Catamaran, as well as the fantasy anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.