Author: Yael Politis
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Published: 2010
Page Count: 443
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 5/5 Stars
This impressive look at a character’s harrowing journey through one of the most tumultuous times in Jewish history is explored in this emotional book.
*Dynamic Story *Alternate view of Jewish history
“Illusions have always given shape to the material.” Tonia Shulman and her family are considered the pioneers of Palestine. Her father has moved her family from Nazi infested Europe to help establish a kibbutz in equally hostile Palestine. Tonia’s life is full of hardship and she spends her childhood dreaming of a safe, American life. It’s only when she finds herself falling in love with a fighter in the Jewish underground that she must choose between her homeland or leaving it behind for the American dream.
I can’t say enough about how great this story is. It slowly caught my attention and then I found that I couldn’t put the book down. The story keeps you engaged with broad glimpses of the various historical conflicts Tonia is caught up in. But then it zooms in on Tonia’s personal struggles between the lure of America and the sense of belonging she feels with her family. These inner battles she experiences are no less interesting or important then the battle scenes and you feel just as torn as she does. Her story reminded me so much of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, one of the few books the rest of my classmates and I universally enjoyed reading in high school. However, I think seeing these important historical events in Jewish history through Tonia’s eyes made it more powerful and meaningful.
The one thing I initially didn’t like about the book was the difficult vocabulary. There were a lot of words that are of Jewish origin that I was not familiar with and I wished there was a mini dictionary at the end of the book that I could quickly reference. Yes, I’m much to lazy to reach over for my iPhone to look up the definition myself. Or maybe I need to expand my vocabulary, but either way, it irked me in the beginning. However, as the story ramped up, I quickly got over it.
Like I said, I can’t rave about this book enough. There is a very touching romance story, but the book could just as easily be about family, a girl’s coming of age story, or the trials and tribulations of the Jewish community in history. Definitely make sure you check out this book. I guarantee you will not regret it.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.