Henna House

Henna House

A Novel

Book - 2014
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In mid-twentieth century Yemen, Adela Damari's parents struggle to find her a spousal prospect after passage of the Orphan's Decree that states that all orphaned Jewish children are to be adopted into the Muslim community.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2014
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Description: ix, 305 pages : map ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9781476740270
1476740275
Branch Call Number: Eve
Additional Contributors: Eve, Nomi, 1968- Henna House

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LoganLib_Phoebe Sep 19, 2018

A compelling story of family, love and betrayal set in Yemen in the 1930s. The importance of the henna traditions in Yemenite Jewish culture is intertwined into the story throughout.

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 confiscated and taken to live with a Muslim family once her sick father died and she was not engaged to anyone under the Orphan Decree. Her live changed when her cousins came. Asaf, her first love and Hani who introduced her to the art of henna. I am fascinated by the intricate designs and hidden meanings of henna. The lives and history of Yemenite Jews were well researched. The characters and their mother/daughter/cousins relationships were well written. I kept thinking of them even after finished reading the book. A very interesting book to read!

m
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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