Tuesday, 20 May 2014
All the Things you are by Clemency Burton-Hill
When New York journalist Natasha Bernstein loses her job and discovers her fiancé has been keeping a dark secret, her world collapses. Turning to her family, she takes inspiration from her formidable grandmother Esther, who runs a community centre in downtown Manhattan. As she starts to rebuild her life, Natasha's friendship with Rafi - the enigmatic architect working on Esther's centre - restores her sense of wonder at the world and her faith in who she is. But when Rafi and Natasha take a trip to Jerusalem, they are plunged into a story far deeper than their own. Here, questions of family and loyalty mean more than life itself, and they must ask themselves what they are ultimately prepared to fight for. In a divided world, is it history or love that makes us who we are?
Natasha's Grandmother Esther, a holocaust survivor is approaching her ninetieth birthday. Esther runs a community drop in centre for homeless people as well as lecturing around the country, her story is heartbreaking. Natasha is now at a loose end having been fired from her job as a journalist and accompanies her grandmother to the centre which is being renovated by architect Rafi.
Two young American people who's family are from different backgrounds,Rafi being Palestinian and a Christian and Natasha being Jewish. Everything looks like working out well from them until they decide on a trip to Jerusalem and Palestine. Will they be on opposing sides or will each understand how the other feels?
The first half of this book is set in New York. Natasha,stunned from having broken up with her boyfriend and loosing her job. Rosalind her mother is worried that her daughter will never meet a nice Jewish boy and settle down.
I really enjoyed this book mainly because it wasn't just a run of the mill love story. The problems encountered by Natasha and Rafi are the same ones that many sweethearts face today across different cultures and religions. Rafi was a likable character and I loved his relationship with Esther.
Rosalind had to endure the admiration her mother received all the while knowing she was not always a great mother to her. Natasha's sister Rachael works with her grandmother at the centre and shows what a great sister she really is.
The second half is set in Israel and Palestine and was like steeping back in time to another century. I could feel the pain for the people on both sides being forced from their homes. Natasha was convinced she was in a safe place but we find out that no one is safe in the middle of a conflict. My heart skipped a few beats at how silly and trusting she was.
At one point in the book I myself didn't know who to trust and I think the author was very clever with the plot twist.
I didn't want this story to end and my only slight disappointment was I felt I needed to hear more from Natasha and Rafi at the end.
I could have read about Esther all day long she was truly inspirational.