A NovelBook - 2014 | First Scribner hardcover edition.
In the tradition of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent , Henna House is the enthralling story of a woman, her family, their community, and the rituals that bind them.
Nomi Eve's vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920, when Adela Damari's 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. Suddenly, Adela's eyes are opened to the world, and she begins to understand what it means to love another and one's heritage. She is imperiled, however, when her parents die and a prolonged drought threatens their long-established way of life. She and her extended family flee to the city of Aden where Adela encounters old loves, discovers her true calling, and is ultimately betrayed by the people and customs she once held dear.
Henna House is an intimate family portrait and a panorama of history. From the traditions of the Yemenite Jews, to the far-ranging devastation of the Holocaust, to the birth of the State of Israel, Eve offers an unforgettable coming-of-age story and a textured chronicle of a fascinating period in the twentieth century.
Henna House is a rich, spirited, and sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart.
From Library Staff
Jcheng1234 May 04, 2018
I learned so much about Yemenite Jews living from 1920-1950 and the intriguing rituals of henna tattooing and hidden meanings of henna patterns from this book. Beautifully written story about love and betrayal. Adela, since 8 years old was living in the constant fear that she would be confisca... Read More »
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