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Henna House: A Novel Hardcover – August 12, 2014
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“This was a book I had to read twice:the first time to rush through quickly to find out what will ultimately happento the characters, and the second time to slowly savor the descriptions ofthese marvelous, exotic people and locales. Nomi Eve captivated me.” (Maggie Anton, author of Rashi’s Daughters and Rav Hisda’s Daughter)
Nomi Eve's novel is a heady mixof henna, history, and the power of words written on skin, sand, andpaper. An engrossing, surprising, compelling read. (Indira Ganesan, author of As Sweet as Honey)
Top Customer Reviews
I also really loved Eve's writing voice. She's lyrical without getting too wrapped up in her own language. She also strikes a nice balance between explaining culture-specific terms and leaving some for the reader to define for themselves through context. I find that many authors writing about another culture either go one way or the other, so I appreciated that Eve was very moderate in this.
But, there were some technical things about this book that really bothered me. For one thing, I felt like 80% of this book was just backstory for the last 20%. Then, once I hit the point where the story really began, the pace of the book picked up so much it felt like a race to the finish. I do wish that Eve had evened out the tempo of this book so that the reader doesn't feel like the story starts to fly by them right as it starts getting good.
Eve also seemed to have trouble with foreshadowing and extraneous details. There were a number of details that felt like they should be developed into the plot but just never went anywhere. Conversely, the bonafide foreshadowing was very obvious and almost felt like there should be a "dut dut DUN" every time it occured.
There was one other thing that made me very, very uncomfortable about this book. I actually tried to ignore it when evaluating my thoughts of this book, but it ended up coloring how I saw much of the book.Read more ›
The henna that the story focuses on was fascinating and I enjoyed learning about the culture women who were otherwise mostly powerless had claimed as their own. One of my least favorite parts of the book was that the main character really didn’t have any control over her fate. Although that was in large part due to the setting I liked so much, I still wished she’d made more decisions within the restrictions she faced. There was great character growth though, as Adela dealt with many adverse events outside her control and the ending was very moving. Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to any fan of historical fiction.
Instead, the narrative here is as purposeful in tone and effect as any I can presently recall. Eve's narrator's voice has been well-honed, and more strikingly, the discourse in this text is never less than unabashedly powerful. Throughout the detailed work, the reader senses the heart of the matter being directly set forth; nothing is roundabout or oblique -- let alone trivial. In sum, this novel delivers exceptional drama without ever struggling with the bounds of good taste or the threat of melodrama.
The novel is as rich as it is heavy. The plot blends tragedy with the warmth of carefully drawn family relationships and other deep human bonds. There is joy and sorrow. There is history and culture (of Yemeni Jews in the 1920's, 30's and 40's) to fill a nonfictional account of the same, included seamlessly in the story and naturally presented fully to a mostly ignorant reader.
This narrator, the heroine, and her familiar coming of age story (in content yet strange in particular detail) will stick with this reader for a long time. If your reading of this book is anything like mine, you will be substantially enriched and deeply satisfied by this book. It's something really special, in my estimation.
This review is long overdue given the tremendous gift of this novel in and of itself, let alone in light of Nomi Eve's generous supply of my very own copy of the work (which implicitly raises a duty to review honestly when the book is months away from release). I am grateful to the author for this opportunity and the experience her art provided me. I encourage readers with any interest to read this book ASAP. Seriously.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this engaging novel about a time, place and culture that was unknown to me.Published 13 days ago by Shopping pro
I really like this book. It's from the perspective of a young jewish girl growing up in Yemen. I find books about people in different cultures fascinating. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Janet Willging
This is an excellent work that takes us into a world and time little known about. Kudos to an author that can write from an eleven-year old's mind,in a Jewish child living 90... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rachel Landes