In the 1950s Rina, her sister and their Romanian immigrant parents lived in a crowded apartment with other relatives in Haifa, Israel. It may have been a tight fit but at least they had a balcony. That was their way to see what was going on in their world and vice-versa. Rina’s parents worked hard at jobs outside their training. Their mother was an accountant in Romania but now cleaned houses. Their photographer father now worked small jobs and looked after his daughters. Life wasn’t easy but the girls knew they were loved.
The novel takes us primarily through Rina’s life – her sister becomes a supporting character. Rina falls in love, marries a young man from Spain and they move back to Israel to be near her family. As in any life they experience heartbreak and we find out how they deal with it.
My thoughts: Although a lot of things happen in this book it felt more like a list of family events than a fluid novel. The chapters move alternately between Rina as a stubborn young girl and Rina as a stubborn – some might say selfish – adult. The bones of a good story are there but I never felt emotionally drawn to the characters. Perhaps it lost something in the translation. The cover of the review copy states that it is an “International Bestseller” so other readers may have a different reaction.
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Uncorrected Proof from HarperCollins