Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: A Remarkable Kindness by Diana Bletter

A Remarkable Kindness, by Diana Bletter
2015, 416p, Women's Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Through a largely hidden ceremony . . . four friends discover the true meaning of life

It's 2006 in a seaside village in Israel, where a war is brewing. Lauren, Emily, Aviva and Rachel, four memorable women from different backgrounds, are drawn to the village. Lauren, a maternity nurse, loves her Israeli doctor husband but struggles to make a home for herself in a foreign land thousands of miles away from her beloved Boston. Seeking a fresh start after a divorce, her vivacious friend Emily follows. Strong, sensuous Aviva, brought to Israel years earlier by intelligence work, has raised a family and now lost a son. And Rachel, a beautiful, idealistic college graduate from Wyoming, arrives with her hopeful dreams.

The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war. Their intimate bond is strengthened by their participation in a traditional ritual that closes the circle of life. As their lives are slowly transformed, each finds unexpected strength and resilience.

Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A Remarkable Kindness is a moving testament to women's friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.

This story takes place between 2000-2006. Four American women end up in Northern Israel and, over time, work together in a burial circle. Their lives are so different and they each have their own trials to deal with. 

Lauren met David in Boston and they got married when she got pregnant. They now live in Israel and Lauren is conflicted as she loves her husband and children but is very homesick and would love to return to Boston. Lauren and Emily knew each other in Boston. Emily moved to Israel after her divorce to get a fresh start. She marries a guy completely different from her first husband but it doesn't take long for her to question that decision. 

Aviva has lived in Israel for quite a few years. She's lost her husband and a son and is terrified of losing another one. Rachel moves over from Wyoming and it doesn't take long for her to start dating Aviva's son, Yoni. Yoni is a soldier and it's tough on her not knowing if she'll see him again each time he leaves.

Like life, this book is filled with ups and downs. There are some very happy, joyful times and some very sad, painful times. Lauren was my favorite character. She was the most grounded and her life seemed to be the happiest to me. It wasn't perfect but she felt peace with the decisions she made and tried to help her other friends through some of their difficult choices. The burial circle brought them all together as they prepared and cleansed women's bodies for burial. It was interesting to see how this act of service affected each of their lives and their relationships with each other.

Israel is a place I would love to visit so I loved learning more about the culture and especially the burial circle. The author includes an interview at the end where she shares that some of the experiences of her characters were based on ones she had herself. The authenticity came through in her writing. 

Overall, this is a book I enjoyed! However, there is some content to note. There's some swearing, including a handful of "f" bombs, infidelity and other short, descriptive sex scenes among unmarried couples.

Purchase Links

About Diana Bletter

Diana Bletter is a writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and Commentary. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women, with photographs by Lori Grinker, was shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. In 1991, she moved from New York to a seaside village in northern Israel where she lives with her husband and children, and volunteers in a burial circle.

Find out more about Diana at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour Schedule:
Tuesday, August 11th: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, August 12th: Becca Rowan
Thursday, August 13th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, August 14th: Into the Hall of Books
Monday, August 17th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, August 18th: Novel Escapes
Wednesday, August 19th: Mel’s Shelves
Thursday, August 20th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Monday, August 24th: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, August 25th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, August 26th: JulzReads
Thursday, August 27th: Bibliotica


Unknown said...

Sounds very interesting! Great review :)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love when an author includes information at the end of the book that sheds light on the story.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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