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The Gilboa Iris Paperback – April 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Author and activist Englard s debut novel (after the nonfiction Settling for More: From Jersey to Judea) is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful tale of love set against the backdrop of an Israel embroiled in conflict. Dara Harow grew up in the U.S., but her grandfather s stories of his time in Israel impel her to visit. In the summer of 1983, Dara travels to volunteer on a kibbutz at the base of the Gilboa Mountains, though her parents insist she return home in time for her freshman year at Columbia University. In addition, her father is a rocket physicist with the U.S. Department of Defense, and is concerned about what message his daughter s time in Israel will send to the U.S. government. While on the kibbutz, Dara falls in love with Roni, a young Israeli officer in an elite counter-terrorism unit, and they soon make plans to marry against her parents wishes. Dara s life, however, is hurled into turmoil when a terror cell targets her father in an attempt to procure information regarding the U.S. s advanced rocket technology. Set within one of the world s most contentious regions, Englard crafts a fast-paced, spine-tingling story of danger, suspense, and of course love.(Apr.) --Publishers Weekly

Riveting breathless action a rousing story of romance!... The Gilboa Iris weaves together the timeless love story of Dara and Roni, a feisty American student and a brilliant Israeli commando, against the backdrop of global terror involving the infiltration of the US s defense stratum and a double homicide on American soil. Zahava D. Englard merges wit, history, adventure and the triumph of the human spirit into a sensational read!
--Grace Bennett-Inside Chappaqua Magazine

It was tough to tear my eyes away from The Gilboa Iris. While the main character is not family(!) I did relate to her story and its incorporation of the very real tensions, terrorism fears and other issues that so many of us in the Western world must deal with today. A fast-paced, exciting read that has you praying for a happy ending.
--Eve Harow - Israel National Radio Show host

Hard to believe The Gilboa Iris is Zahava Englard s first novel it sizzles, oozing passion of all kinds. Great plot, fascinating characters and, best of all, it s brimming with local lore. Don t miss this one!
--Yocheved Miriam Russo Freelance journalist, Israel

This moving story of love, death, rebirth and survival is a great read. --

Ruthie Blum; American-Israeli author and social critic

Riveting breathless action a rousing story of romance!... The Gilboa Iris weaves together the timeless love story of Dara and Roni, a feisty American student and a brilliant Israeli commando, against the backdrop of global terror involving the infiltration of the US s defense stratum and a double homicide on American soil. Zahava D. Englard merges wit, history, adventure and the triumph of the human spirit into a sensational read!
Grace Bennett-Inside Chappaqua Magazine

It was tough to tear my eyes away from The Gilboa Iris.... While the main character is not family(!) I did relate to her story and its incorporation of the very real tensions, terrorism fears and other issues that so many of us in the Western world must deal with today. A fast-paced, exciting read that has you praying for a happy ending. --Eve Harow-Israel National Radio Show host

About the Author

A native of New York, Zahava Englard lived in Teaneck, NJ, before moving with her family to Israel in 2006. An outspoken activist in the United States on behalf of Israel, she served as trustee on the executive board of One Israel Fund and as its executive director. Presently Zahava lives in Efrat, Gush Etzion. Her writing includes Settling for More: From Jersey to Judea, and she lectures in the United States and Israel about her books, Jewish activism, and her passion for Israel s well-being. This is her first novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652295744
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652295743
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,450,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I too read The Gilboa Iris in one sitting. Expecting to read for a half-hour or so before bed, I stayed awake through to the last page. So I liked it. Definitely. As an unusual blend of fairy tale and tragedy, it succeeds. I cried...and was also pleased to laugh out loud. Englard has some excellent funny lines that read true to one familiar with both American and Israeli society, and the intersection of the two. Moreover, the complexities in the society she depicts - even to the interplay between religion and secularism - are nuanced, at least to this informed reader. And the characters left me wistful for the depth of feeling in their commitments and relationships.

Unfortunately, the text has a long way to go. The editing leaves more than a little to be desired, with typos and elementary grammatical errors glaring. More substantively, the words of The Gilboa Iris are often repetitive, flourish with melodrama, and are self-conscious enough to hold this reader at arm's length. Instead of being fully consumed by the story and the personalities and the issues, I found myself noticing the words...rephrasing as I read, which detracted somewhat from the novel as a whole. And structurally, I was able to predict the end of the story early on, as well as some of the most significant points of action along the way.

Still, I will say that even fairly certain as to how the plot would unfold, I was hooked into the story. I enjoyed the twists and turns in Englard's plot - some moving and disturbing. She brought difficult characters to life and she conveyed some of the rough purity (if I may be so bold) of contemporary life in Israel. I hope she keeps writing (perhaps with more rigorous editing to take her work to the next level), because I will be glad to read more from her.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not very often do I find a book that so captures my attention that I almost literally cannot put it down. I had many other things I should have been doing on a Friday night, but I was unable to do them. I absolutely had to finish this book! In fact, I got to a really exciting point last night, and I did not want to go to sleep!

When I began reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about it. It seemed fine to begin with. Roni and Dara are star-crossed lovers, love at fist sight--the usual stuff. I have to admit that I wasn't even that interested during the first 30 pages of reading or so. But I was quite smitten with Roni. Give me a rough, strong guy who knows what he wants and doesn't beat around the bush--yes, that is Roni. They made such a sweet couple.

What I did not see coming was the international intrigue and espionage. In fact, there was much I did not see coming. The story seemed normal until Dara returned to the U.S. And the twists and turns did not stop. The more I read, the more I was on edge. I kept telling my mom that I had to finish the book so I would know if I was right or not!

All I will say is that I mostly figured out the direction the story was going. But the author still kept me on the edge of my seat. The book was one wild ride with sweet (not sappy) romance along the way! I connected with this book on so many levels, and it has quickly become my current favorite read.

Okay, it had some minor profanity throughout, but I will tell you, that none of it truly offended me because of how it was used. And although there were implied bedroom scenes, they were not described in any kind of detail. In fact, a part of me truly enjoyed the physical relationship between Roni and Dara. His indomitable sense of humor always showed through.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
THE GILBOA IRIS is a passionate story - emotion emanates from every page. It is a story of romance, intrigue, suspense, love, happiness, tragedy and abject despair.
The descriptions of the kibbutz and kibbutz life, the Gilboa Mountains and other locations in Israel are a special part of this book. The characters of Dara Harrow and Roni Ben-Ari, indeed all the characters of this book, were beautifully developed and detailed.
About halfway through the book, it hit me - I knew what the outcome of the book was going to be. I cried. I didn’t know if I could continue. I did continue reading and I am glad that I did, as THE GILBOA IRIS is very special and has left a lasting impression on me.
The conversation at the end of the book on the Mount of Olives was very poignant. The questioning of hope and optimism is a universal concern.
An interesting aside (for me) was the mention of Mossad knowledge of the planning of the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. didn’t acknowledge or give credence to these warnings. I could never take this as fact, but it is interesting and painful to think about.
I sincerely hope Zahava Englard gives the public more of her writing.
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Format: Paperback
The Gilboa Iris is a story of love,loss,faith,hope,and perseverance. Written from the heart and perspective of one whose very being is entrenched in national pride, Zahava Englard brilliantly draws us into the lives of her vibrant,colorful characters using mystery, excitement, drama, and humor. We are captivated by beautiful, descriptive language and flowing dialogue. Every adventure will leave you breathless as you follow the protagonists around the globe completely unprepared for the unknown. More than a touch of chilling reality evokes sentiments of compassion, anger, and frustration and yet these feelings are embraced by the reader throughout the entire, spectacular plot.
This electrifying novel is not to be missed! I can't wait for the sequel!
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