A fascinating look at the birth of Israel through the eyes of a woman whose family goes back nine generations as residents of Jerusalem. It begins in 1929, when Palestine was still very much a backwater, and continues throughout its struggle for independence as the state of Israel. What I found most interesting is I'd always assumed that Israel had been allowed to form by most of the Western members of the UN; I had no idea that Britain was so very much opposed to it. It was shocking for me to find out that the Holocaust survivors who had made their way to the Promised Land after enduring such horrors found in concentration camps were then interned in yet more camps, separated by gender and kept behind barbed wire. My heart broke for all of those people when I read that.
The writing itself could have been stronger, though I am sure it was difficult for Gruber to put together a book that isn't quite a straight-up biography but is also based on a real person and therefore isn't a novel. It's rather like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in that respect -- a fictionalized biography. I was also a little disappointed with the emphasis on Raquela's "stunning" good looks, as if all her hard work and dedication to pregnant women and newborns were secondary to her beauty.