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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE: An Isaac’s House Novel; A Story of Promises ~Normandie Fischer

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Ms. Fischer is quite a storyteller and TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE is right up there on the list for good reading.

When TLC Book Tours   included TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE on the review list, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review another of Normandie Fisher’s books.  I wanted to know if BECALMED was an isolated great read or if this good storyteller had another tale, which provided entertainment and great words.  I was not disappointed in the least and I still wish to read more of her stories in the future.

Yes, This book is a Romance and also an interesting story.  Fischer’s books are not dumbed down and certainly not “bodice rippers”.  The book is full of good descriptions and finely tuned dialogue.  There is a great deal of truth about what the characters are thinking and how they handle each situation.  We are treated to some politics and unrest in the Middle East and even a murder that creates a mystery.

Rina Lynne is a young lady of the South and has lived in Morehead City, North Carolina all of her life.  Her mother died young and her father is over-protective and very strict.  When she finishes school and her father dies, she decides to put her fiancé and her wedding on hold and take on a bit of adventure.  Her first stop is Italy for a language class and maybe a cooking class.  She purchases an unwieldy suitcase that makes her beginning travels interesting.

Tony, an Arab American, assists Rina with her suitcase and becomes a part of the story as he is also taking the same language class as Rina.  He is using his vacation time from his Engineering firm to be a sort-of spy for his Israeli cousins.  On the train, there is a murder and the intrigue and mystery begins.

“…global, sophisticated, and intriguing with an exotic setting.  A girl seeking one last trek before she marries.  A guy conned into espionage by family.  They enter each other’s worlds and life becomes colorful, fascinating, and oh so dangerous.  Beautifully written, adventurous, and smart.”  -C. Hope Clark, award-winning author, The Edisto Island Mysteries and Carolina Slade Mysteries.

An Excellent Read.

Normandie Fischer:
In this romp through Italy and the Middle East, Normandie Fischer combines her love of all things Italian and her fascination with the cultures and cuisines of the Middle East, an interest fostered when she studied sculpture in Perugia and lived among Arab students.  She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on board their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother, who now sails with them whenever the opportunity arises. (Cover)

Normandie Fischer Website
Normandie Fischer Facebook

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Becalmed
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A REMARKABLE KINDNESS: A Story About Friendship ~Diana Bletter

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

TLC Book Tours  asked me to read and review this book and after reading the promotion material I was looking forward to this very good book about women and friendship.  The book arrived by UPS with a squeak and a promise before the scheduled review.  I set everything aside and read the book cover to cover in one day, with as much speed as I could muster.  I think it would have been a much better read at a slower pace, but I enjoyed the book even with the great push.

About A Remarkable Kindness
• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 11, 2015)

Through a largely hidden ceremony . . . four friends discover the true meaning of life.
It’s 2006 in a seaside village in Israel, where a war is brewing. Lauren, Emily, Aviva and Rachel, four memorable women from different backgrounds, are drawn to the village. Lauren, a maternity nurse, loves her Israeli doctor husband but struggles to make a home for herself in a foreign land thousands of miles away from her beloved Boston. Seeking a fresh start after a divorce, her vivacious friend Emily follows. Strong, sensuous Aviva, brought to Israel years earlier by intelligence work, has raised a family and now lost a son. And Rachel, a beautiful, idealistic college graduate from Wyoming, arrives with her hopeful dreams.

The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war. Their intimate bond is strengthened by their participation in a traditional ritual that closes the circle of life. As their lives are slowly transformed, each finds unexpected strength and resilience.

Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A Remarkable Kindness is a moving testament to women’s friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.” (From the TLC website)

What I enjoyed when reading this story was the constant loss and the women’s reaction to each loss.  Loss of a favorite city and an expectation, loss of a partner, loss because of war, loss because of change or choices, and loss because of old age and life’s patterns.  I enjoyed reading about loss because we ignore it in our culture and it is a big part of living, that often defines our lives – first we acquire and then we let go.  The four women friends were connected because they all moved from the USA to Israel and they were all active in their Jewish Faith, although that was verbally downplayed in the story, they were all programed to rely on their faith and the rules of their lives and living.  The story very much paralleled the author’s own life and story.

The descriptions of another country and the Jewish traditions were very nice and opened my perspective on the friendship shared by these women and their families.  It was not just foxhole faith, but rather served them well as they interacted and took care of their children, husbands, and homes.

The writing was often simplistic and although the author was writing about what she knew from her own story, it left me wanting for some more meaning and character interpretations of the war and the politics; not just a study of loss.   I think 4 American women would have had a lot more to say about the politics on the ground and not been so dependent on husbands and fathers in their new country.  There was not a lot of depth to the characters and just one perspective.  Lots of sobbing and crying and very little wisdom or deeper thinking was involved.   I read the book in very short order, and I do not think I am inclined to re-read it; I very often want to read more about women’s friendships but once was enough for A REMARKABLE KINDNESS.

About Diana Bletter  (From TLC website)

“Diana Bletter is a writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Commentary. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women, with photographs by Lori Grinker, was shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. In 1991, she moved from New York to a seaside village in northern Israel where she lives with her husband and children, and volunteers in a burial circle.”

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RYDER: An Ayesha Ryder Novel ~Nick Pengelley

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

“The conference, timed to coincide with the summit meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders – to be held at the Tower of London for security reasons – was already fully booked.  The attention of the whole world would be on the summit, and on everything to do with the talks in which so much hope was invested.  It would not have mattered what they called her paper.” (Location 77% on my Kindle – uncorrected, unproofed copy )


TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected and unproofed copy of this book for review.   It was released on Amazon on September 30th of this year. A very good read for those who enjoy political suspense.  I will read and review book two in this series in 2015.

RYDER reminds me of THE Da Vinci Code novel with a bigger area of history included, such as the Arc of the Covenant search in the story.

RYDER is quite the read and if you enjoy history lessons with contemporary outcomes this will prove to be one of the best reads you will encounter.  Ayesha Ryder was a Palestinian terrorist when she was 16 and currently she lives in London working at the War History Museum and has her doctorate in Middle Eastern Studies.   She is preparing a speech to give at the Israeli- Palestine Peace Summit in a few days to be held at the Tower of London, when she hears that a very important figure in her life has been tortured and murdered.   He has left clues as to what the murderers hoped to attain and he is an expert on Laurence of Arabia; his life story and spying adventures.  The twists and turns through 1935 to present fictional days and pursuits are an amazing journey and a huge history lesson.  The writing is excellent, tense and not sloppy or over the top localizing.

What if in 1935 Israel and Palestine were made into just one country – Holy Land- and if Laurence’ Peace Treaty had been signed and ratified by Parliament?  It is assumed that there would not be as much conflict and war over all this time, rather a peaceful country.

I was very glad I had read THE LEMON TREE, last year which is a history of the division of the country into two states and why the conflicts continue and how the politicians fuel those disputes and attacks.  How we train violence and hate in the children.   The history was fresh in my mind.   I did not know about possible secret agreements in England with the Nazi regime.  Very interesting and very exciting reading here – RYDER is a good spy story too.

I so enjoyed all the terms I had to look up and understand, not only the British local terms, but also Middle Eastern references.   Do you know about madrigalisms? Now that was a fascinating clue and I even attempted to write one!

“Nick Pengelley is the author of the Political Thrillers RYDER and RYDER: American Treasure.  Australian by birth, he’s had careers in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom as a law professor, legal consultant, and analyst on Middle East politics, which is his passion.  Pengelley lives in Toronto with his wife, Pamela.” (from the author page of the e-book)

www.nicholaspengelley.com
@ NicholasPengell 

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LOVE AND TREASURE: A Historic Novel ~Ayelet Waldman

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


I am having trouble finding the words because I am so excited to share this fascinating story with my wonderful readers.  I received an unproofed copy of this book on my Kindle.  The book’s title page was there and the book was there, and then it disappeared.  It was quite a learning experience to get my copy recovered.  As I write, the final copy is being released today so I believe you will not have that trouble.  The final file of the book did not record how many pages (450 pages) or the correct time (about 13 hours) – It is a fairly substantial book so allow enough time to enjoy this read.

LOVE and TREASURE begins as Grandpa Jack is waiting in Maine to meet his granddaughter’s train to arrive.  Natalie is a young lawyer in New York City and is ending her marriage of 3 months by wanting to take care of her Grandfather who is dying of Pancreatic Cancer.  Trains are going to be very important in this story as are the themes of community, family and recovery.  What happens after a trauma when you are the only one left?

Jack Wiseman, or grandfather, has stolen a Peacock necklace and he would like Natalie to return the necklace to its rightful owners. This necklace is the journey of the story, the main character, and the connecting devise to transition the story to fullness.  The necklace was stolen from The Gold Train  in Salzburg, which Jack is assigned, as a Lieutenant and a language expert, to inventory and protect as the American Soldiers take control of the recovery after WWII.  The Gold Train is full of art, jewelry, crystal, dishes, silver, telephones, watches, and anything of value that the Jews of Hungary and specifically Budapest were to turn over to the Germans before they were sent to the camps.  The train had been looted again before it arrived in Salzburg and much had been stolen.  Although, it was intended to be returned to the people of Hungary almost nothing was.  There are a number of books about The Gold Train if you want to explore more.

Salzburg in 1944 was a giant refugee camp for Displaced Persons and it was a depot for sorting out and reconnecting people at the end of the war.  There was hope but primarily hunger there.

The necklace is the story of the Treasure and the trains carry the reader from Love story to Love story over the saga.  How do you find yourself and how does one trust enough to find relationships and community after trauma?  Where does that recovery begin?  What shape does it take after realizing how alone one is in the death defeating experience; which needs a new commitment to be alive?

Part of the 1913 segment was focused on the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Budapest.  LOVE AND TREASURE is a good history lesson and it is well written.

I know that many readers will enjoy LOVE AND TREASURE. This book will capture your imagination, go ahead and put it on your list.

Ayelet Waldman is a novelist and essayist who was formerly a lawyer. She is noted for her self-revelatory essays, and for her writing about the changing expectations of motherhood. Wikipedia  Waldman has written many stories some of which have been on the New York Times Best Seller List and have been made into movies.  She lives in Berkley, California with her partner Michael Chabon, the novelist and screenwriter, and their 4 children.

Ayelet Waldman  Online
Ayelet Waldman on Facebook

tlc logo TLC Online Book Tours sent me a copy of LOVE AND TREASURE to read and review.  It was definitely a pleasure to read this historic novel and to be able to share LOVE AND TREASURE with my readers.

Related:
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Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series
Breathe 
Little Failure