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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Israela is a work of fiction in the partly-historical, modern cultural, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to the adult reading audience and was penned by author Batya Casper. Focusing heavily on the land and people of Israel and the conflicts faced there, particularly between those of Arabic and Jewish heritage, the storyline follows three women through key moments in their lives that reveal deeper messages about the culture, history, and future of their land. Ratiba and Orit are sisters separated by Ratiba’s decision to marry an Israeli Arab man, and Elisheva is a nurse dedicating her care to severely wounded and dying people. Together, the women bring a unique perspective to suffering that addresses religion, culture, modern life, and who is really to blame for it all.
Having visited Israel quite recently, I found it absolutely fascinating to read about the conflicts and struggles of real people there through the medium of this highly engaging work of fiction. Author Batya Casper has a knack for making complexities accessible and understandable in a quintessentially human way, and it is the raw humanity and realism of this work that makes it a standout read compared to any typical modern drama. I found the narrative to be sensitive and skillful in conveying the individual traumas of the three main protagonists, whilst also building on the wider underlying theme and ‘big picture’ at the heart of the novel’s intentions. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Israela as essential reading for fans of cultural fiction and deeply impactful emotional tales.