“A touching coming-of-age story” (Publishers Weekly) in the tradition of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, about a young woman, her family, their community and the customs that bind them, from “a storyteller of uncommon energy and poise” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).
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.
At first glance, Eve's follow-up to The Family Orchard appears to be an expansive historical novel about Yemeni Jews in the first decades of the 20th century, only to settle into a smaller-scale tale of women navigating the strictures and delights of their domestic lives. In 1920, Adela Damari, daughter of a kind Jewish cobbler and his shrewish wife, lives in the mountain village of Qaraah in the Kingdom of North Yemen, then ruled by the oppressive Imam Yahye. Because Adela's father is sickly, the family lives in terror that she will be forcibly adopted and converted by a Muslim family should he die as allowed for by law. However, the family's attempts to avert this fate by marrying her off come to nothing. Adela's lonely life changes after the arrival in the village of members of her extended family, including her Aunt Rahel and cousin Hani, who introduce Adela to the art of henna. The heart of Eve's book lies here, amid Adela's tight-knit sisters-in-law, aunts, and cousins, as the women cook, bake bread, and minister to their husbands and brothers. What's missing from the touching coming-of-age story that ensues is a better sense of the historical forces acting on these Jews of the Saudi peninsula during a time frame that extends right up to the start of WWII.
A must read.......
A must read novel! Beautifully written. It's about life, hope, love, heartbreak, betrayal, and rituals. *****
Nomi did a fabulous job I really loved this book. Thank you