I received a free copy of The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem for my honest review.
About the Book:
The #1 International Best Seller, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is a dazzling novel of mothers and daughters, stories told and untold, and the ties that bind four generations of women.
Gabriela’s mother Luna is the most beautiful woman in all of Jerusalem, though her famed beauty and charm seem to be reserved for everyone but her daughter. Ever since Gabriela can remember, she and Luna have struggled to connect. But when tragedy strikes, Gabriela senses there’s more to her mother than painted nails and lips.
Desperate to understand their relationship, Gabriela pieces together the stories of her family’s previous generations—from Great-Grandmother Mercada the renowned healer, to Grandma Rosa who cleaned houses for the English, to Luna who had the nicest legs in Jerusalem. But as she uncovers shocking secrets, forbidden romances, and the family curse that links the women together, Gabriela must face a past and present far more complex than she ever imagined.
Set against the Golden Age of Hollywood, the dark days of World War II, and the swinging ’70s, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem follows generations of unforgettable women as they forge their own paths through times of dramatic change. With great humor and heart, Sarit Yishai-Levi has given us a powerful story of love and forgiveness—and the unexpected and enchanting places we find each.
About the Author:
SARIT YISHAI-LEVI is a journalist and author of four non-fiction books. Her debut novel, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, was a #1 bestseller and won the Publishers Association’s Gold and Platinum Prizes and the Steimatzky Prize for bestselling book of the year when it was published in Israel. She lives in Tel Aviv
This is a fascinating book about the lives of four generations of Jewish women living in Israel prior to and just after the creation of the Israeli state. Gabriela is the youngest of the women and she is the daughter of the titular Beauty Queen of Jerusalem. The story revolves around her and is told to her, through her and by her as she slowly learns the history of her family. Her mother is cold, miserable – truth be told she’s a horrible person. She’s awful to her husband and to her children. It’s somewhat explained why but nothing can truly turn a person that awful unless they really want to be.
Gabriela doesn’t understand why her mother is as she is and why she can’t seem to do anything right. She resorts to some actions to get attention but nothing seems to get her mother to offer the love she seeks. Her father just goes along with whatever his wife wants to the detriment of the family.
The book is rich in historical detail and really brings the reader into the world of the Sephardic Jews and their traditions. The author is adept at bringing the atmosphere of the era alive. It does take a bit to get used to the rhythm of the writing but once you do you find yourself in the midst of a rich family story full of women who suffer due to the men they marry. Some do better than others and others are just bitter shells, unable to love even their own children.