Raquela: A Woman Of Israel Book Review

Sometimes, when we live through major historical events, we find that we see the world through different eyes.

Raquela: A Woman Of History, By Ruth Gruber is a biography that reads like a fiction novel.

Raquela Prywes (nee Levy) is born at a unique point in history. The child of an Ashkenazi (Eastern European) father and a Sephardi (Middle Eastern/Iberian Peninsula) mother, Raquela is a sabra, a native of Israel. She comes of age as Israel fights of her independence. Working as a nurse and a midwife, ¬†she works tirelessly through the events that shaped Israel’s early years. As her life changes, it mirrors the changes that her homeland is experiencing.

Originally published in 1979, I read this book many years ago. Her story is compelling and told in a way that does not feel like a boring biography. Ms. Gruber, a journalist by trade, infuses her characters with life and vitality. Sometimes, when a writer is trying to infuse a fiction like aspect to a biography, the story often reads as dry. But not this book. Another quality that I like about this book is that against history and everything that is going in the region at the period, Raquela remains strong and true to herself.

I recommend it.



Indian Summers Review

History and change sometimes happens when we least expect it. When we are comfortable with our lives and our surroundings, change often happens.

The new miniseries Indian Summers is about change and how that change affects all of us. It is the story of two different families, one Indian, one British. Set in the early 1930’s as the British empire is slowly receding into history, the miniseries takes the audience back to a time when the British were fighting to hold onto a world and an empire that was slowly dying.

Ralph Whelan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) works for the British Viceroy. His sister, Alice (Jemima West) has just arrived in India with her young son to escape a less than stellar marriage. Aafrin Dalal (Nikesh Patel) is one of Ralph’s employees. He lives with his Indian family, trying to balance his loyalty to the government while dealing with the rumblings of independence that is slowly working its way through the country. They are all brought together by Cynthia Coffin (Julie Walters) who runs the social club run that many of the British and American ex-pats are members of.

I found the first episode to be interesting. Set at the intersection of history when the world is going to change, some very difficult questions are coming up to the surface which, as well know, have the potential to turn violent. While the cast is nothing but stellar, I found the first episode to be a little slow.

Do I recommend it? If you are a fan of Masterpiece and/or you are a student of history, I would say yes. Otherwise I might recommend to skip it.

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