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The first book of Yael Politis that I read was the Lonely Tree. Since that time I've read every single book by this author, including the highly recommended "The Olivia Series." This book does not disappoint, either. The author's books bring to mind books by Arthur Hailey - detailed research woven into the story. Unlike Hailey, though, the research isn't dense. Politis weaves in the research with a deft hand. But, research isn't the only thing the author does well - she draws such a lovely portrait of the protagonist, Gavriella, that you're rooting for her to succeed, to be happy. Gavriella friendships with two different men, were beautiful depicted. I look forward to the next book in the series.
This is the first time I've ever posted a review. Her books are so wonderful and enjoyable...I just had to! I loved the Olivia series....read twice so far. Then the Lonely Tree was exceptional....and now to have combined them with the characters meetings....I was enthralled! I am so looking forward to Book 2!
I bought this book because I had read The Lonely Tree and loved it. The Summer of 1974 has another strong female proganonist with a mind of her own and I enjoyedgetting to know Gabrielle. This book provides insight into a later period inIsrsels history. It was lovely o become reacquainted with Amos and tonia at a later stage in their lives. Another huge onus was the unexpected appearance of Charlie, from Whatet Happened to mourning Free? That charming young man is one of myfavorite characters. The authors descriptions of the places that are visited are beautifully written and are so informative; especially Rome and the Sinai peninsula. A total pleasure to read. I recommend it to all
The mark of a really good book, I think, is the number of times you find yourself thinking about the characters, and the events, long after you've read it. All of the books by Yael Politis have had this quality, but in my opinion "The Summer of 1974" surpasses even the rest, Perhaps that's an indication of the author's increased comfort and ease. All I know is that a number of times I've been confused for a moment, trying to recall who told me of certain events or experiences and then realizing that they came from this book. The characters are that real - and that human. -- I also was amazed to realize just how much was packed into this book (and that summer!) without it feeling the least rushed or that something had been inserted just to move the plot along. Looking back I had to marvel at all the different 'worlds' I experienced right along with Gavrielle. This is just a very good book and very much worth your time.
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2019
I have read 4 other books written by Yael Politis. As with the others, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters. I liked the story lines. I liked how it was presented in sections. I liked the different "subject matters" that were handled. I liked the author's very descriptive words (I get strong visual images in my head).
The main story line was tight, while weaving in a number of smaller stories. I enjoyed how things tied together toward the end (the Gavrielle/Charlie parallels). It had good character developments. I definitely had mental pictures of Gavrielle, her mom, the relatives she lived with, Charlie, the people he lived with, and the various people with whom Gavrielle worked.
In addition to the story, I really loved the descriptions of Israel and the Sinai Peninsula. I know so very little about that part of the world except for the occasional things I see on the tv news. It is a place with such a long, long history. I very much liked that the author demonstrated (through Gavrielle) how much we take for granted here in America. Gabrielle had a perfectly complete life in her own country, even though she had never eaten a donut!! The author seems to have a very good understanding of both cultures. Also included were many little "nuggets" about art history, architecture, and diamond smuggling that were fun.
Yes, I would read another book in the "Gavrielle" series! I would read anything this author published! (I was given a copy of this book to be honestly reviewed. I have honestly reviewed it!!)
Great to see another book from this talented author, whose writing I enjoy very much.
One of her many strengths that make her stories so good is the detailed research that goes into them. Again in this one that’s true. So besides connecting with the well-drawn characters and caring about them, I learned something about the history and politics of the setting, the Middle East. She weaves in, well and simply, that context, which adds to understanding of the story without dragging down the flow at all.
The central character is a strong female — yay — who is sleuthing some family history, and I very much enjoyed the literary technique used of letting us into her mind and heart by showing us in first person what she’s thinking and feeling. Then in a supporting role is a character from Michigan who makes his reappearance from an earlier book, and I was glad to “be with him” again.
Will definitely be watching for the next in the Gavrielle series or any other volume from Yael Politis!
It was an honor to have been given an advance look at the manuscript and invited to help with copyediting pre-publication. Full disclosure: she’s a friend from my Michigan hometown decades ago, with whom I reconnected in recent years via social media. She’s a great novelist; I say that as an avid reader who inhales dozen of books each year. More disclosure: I wasn’t compensated for that work; I would not give it five stars if I didn’t find it to be worthy. Commended, as are all of Yael’s novels. Am eager to read the next one!
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2019
History and culture breathe very naturally through the pages of Yael Politis’ The Summer of 1974. It’s a tale of contrasts, rich and poor, friend and foe, African American and Jewish. But it’s a tale of unity too, as a young woman hides from relationship and a young man actively seeks new people to relate to. Their connection blossoms and dances, impossible, improbable, and totally delightful, against a backdrop of war and death, tangible danger, and a Jewish conflict that’s all too easily seen, from our Western safety, as distant, constant and unreal.
Author Yael Politis weaves well-researched history into all her stories, bringing depth to all her characters and places, and drawing her readers in. The birth of a nation and the birth of a child; the Six Day War and the dangerous peace; deaths of strangers and the death of a friend; the curious mysteries of Jewish jewelers and the jewel of life in the desert… it all comes together in the quest for family that turns into a quest for purpose.
There’s wisdom in this story and its people, as well as excitement, mystery, love and fear: “God gave your life to you, not to your parents. Up to you to do somethin’ good with it,” the older woman proclaims, meaning more than she seems.
The Summer of 1974 stands alone as a complete and enthralling novel, but ends with the promise of more. I, for one, will look forward to learning more of Gavrielle and Charlie.
Disclosure: I was given a pre-release copy and I love it.