Sunday, February 28, 2016

Henna House by Nomi Eve

<3 <3 <3 <3

Henna House by Nomi Eve

Summary: This vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920. Adela Damari’s parents’ health is failing as they desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter, who is in danger of becoming adopted by the local Muslim community if she is orphaned. With no likely marriage prospects, Adela’s situation looks dire—until she meets two cousins from faraway cities: a boy with whom she shares her most treasured secret, and a girl who introduces her to the powerful rituals of henna. Ultimately, Adela’s life journey brings her old and new loves, her true calling, and a new life as she is transported to Israel as part of Operation On Wings of Eagles.

Rich, evocative, and enthralling, Henna House is an intimate family portrait interwoven with the traditions of the Yemenite Jews and the history of the Holocaust and Israel. This sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness—and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart—will captivate readers until the very last page.

Review: Henna House tells the life story of Adela Damari; beginning with her childhood growing up in a Jewish Community of Yemen.  It follows her as she tries to escape the clutches of the local Imam whose job it is to confiscate Jewish orphans and give them to Muslim families to be raised. Her parents engage her to a cousin to protect her but she will not see how life with Asaf will end until  many years later when she is a teenager and is betrayed by one of those she loves the most. The book goes from her childhood in Yemen to a town called Aden where all the Jews flees as pogroms against them are erupting all over their province.

Eventually Adela and her family will leave Aden and go to Israel where she meets her one lost love and has a life that she is happy with.  The language used in this book was beautiful from the descriptions of the different henna patterns to the age old stories and adages that the characters used and believed in. You can tell that the author did a lot of thorough research to write this book and it shines through in every chapter; the characters seem to come alive as you delve into their lives; and see what life was like for people living in this time period; especially the devastation that the Jews faced as they had to move to a new land to escape persecution.

This is one of my new favorite books and I would recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction and would like to learn more about these people and their traditions and the way they lived. The author breathed life into the characters for me and I really enjoyed the book.

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