Local author Harold Gershowitz has written a book with Jewish characters before. His first title, Remember This Dream, told a story of Polish Jews who immigrated to America. Now he’s back with his second book, Heirs of Eden, a political and historical romance.
Heirs of Eden is set in 1949 in Washington, D.C., and follows the love story of Noah, the son of Orthodox Jewish grocery-store owners, and Alexandra, a Christian from a family of Palestinian refugees. Noah spots Alexandra after his bar mitzvah; Alexandra’s family crossed paths with Noah’s family, leading to a friendly invite to the bar mitzvah.
A deep love unfolds between Noah and Alexandra that goes beyond religion, culture and origins; the prologue calls it a “lovers of peace” story. Of course, since the story is set right after the Israeli War of Independence, conflict is undeniable, as the two families struggle, and their children enter what in many ways is a forbidden romance.
Their bond is tested during their early adulthood, when Noah attends Stanford University and meets Karen, a Jewish girl who tries to change Noah’s perspective on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians; and Alexandra returns to Palestine and meets Ali, a passionate political activist who is willing to take matters into his own hands.
As the conflicts in the Middle East lead to issues within their families, Noah and Alexandra go on with their lives, yet they hold on to memories of each other. They learn more about their forbidden relationship in indirect ways thanks to the situations in which they find themselves.
For those who are interested in the histories of Middle Eastern conflict, Israel and Palestine, this is at times a profound, although quite lengthy, story. At the same time, Heirs of Eden will bring up many subjects for debate—subjects that stories such as this one hope are resolved and put aside. In any case, the story is inspiring and proves that love transcends political strife.
Heirs of Eden
By Harold Gershowitz
538 pages, $17.99