Henna House

Henna House

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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"In Yemen in 1920 ... Adela Damaris parents desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter. After passage of the Orphan's Decree, any unbetrothed Jewish child left orphaned will be instantly adopted by the local Muslim community. With her parents' health failing, and no spousal prospects in sight, Adela's situation looks dire until her uncle arrives from a faraway city, bringing with him a cousin and aunt who introduce Adela to the powerful rituals of henna tattooing"--Amazon.com.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2014
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476740270
1476740275
Branch Call Number: FICTION Eve 2014
Characteristics: ix, 305 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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MHanover10
Mar 16, 2017

What a beautifully written story. This was a group of people I really knew nothing about and I've always been interested in henna. This is about Adela Damari starting in the 1920s in Yemen. It follows her life as she tries to avoid the Confiscator who takes Jewish children as part of the Orphan's Decree and they are instantly adopted by the local Muslim community. I enjoyed the relationship between Adela and her cousin Hani who introduces her to henna application and meanings. I enjoyed the harsh relationship she had with her mother. This is so worth the time. I would have read it faster but I had other things going on. This is one you will get lost in and will lose track of time because you will be absorbed into the characters lives. It will leave you thinking about the characters long after you put the book down.

d
DorisWaggoner
Jul 11, 2016

While I liked "The Family Orchard," this is a more mature work, more focused on a single extended family of Yemenite Jews over two generations. Primarily the story of Adela, whose life is greatly impacted by living in a Muslim area where the law allows girls whose fathers die to be adopted into Muslim families. Her father's poor health and her mother's inability to find a match for her make for an unstable if loving childhood. Then two different cousins seem to bring promise, both of matrimony, and the loving ceremonies of the henna. How these play out through WW II make for a fascinating story. The ending is a bit rushed, and could be a story of its own. I await another book from Eve, who clearly does her research. She also knows how to tell her story, with a touch of magical realism.

r
ruthfowler514
Jun 20, 2016

I enjoyed this book much more than The Family Orchard, by the same author. I loved the descriptions of the henna process and how the women bonded through the henna ceremony and their individual choices of motif. I found the author's use of foreshadowing a bit heavy handed, however, to the point where I wondered if I really wanted to keep going, because surely, they weren't all going to live happily ever after. (Ultimately, I was satisfied with how it ended.) I thought it was interesting how once the family left their village and moved to Aden, they started to catch up with life in the real world. Some of the major events near the end seemed rushed, and more detail would have been interesting, especially since it was a glimpse into a slice of life not often written about, but this was a story told from Adela's point of view and focused on her relationship with her family and loves. Overall, I enjoyed it.

s
salgeogal
May 17, 2016

8 out of 10. Great read

d
danilou_spl
Oct 28, 2014

The Henna House is a wonderful read! It broke my heart many times as it told the story of the Yemenite Jewish community from 1920 through 1950 - many terrible things happened to Jews during that time. I loved the stories of Adela's extended female family and the traditions of henna. I love when I learn while engrossed in reading a novel! Highly recommended.

Cynthia_N Oct 13, 2014

Wonderful story! The author brought the characters to life and I was thinking about them even when I wasn't reading about them. The author made my world larger by creating this story which takes place in an unfamiliar location.

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monique1390 Sep 26, 2014

monique1390 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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