Hidden is being republished. It should be out shortly.
Many of us make mistakes, many of us live forever with the consequences. Does this theme resonate with you?
Under the best of conditions life is complicated. Hope, betrayal, loyalty and love--we recognize these as integral facets---tests perhaps---of our life journeys. What happens to them under war ? Do they take a back seat? Wait for a more opportune moment? Surely they should. Or do they force themselves among the heavier, more long-lasting baggage of tragedy and loss, complicating our lives even further?
"Batya Casper's novella Hidden proves that great things do indeed come in small packages. The story kicks right off with a haunting mystery and traverses backward in time to explore several generations of a Jewish family plagued by tragedy and war. Casper's prose is tight and well-knit, allowing the story to unfold organically without exposition or wasted breath. Hidden is a fantastic read." --Anthony Rando.
"Hidden. Batya Casper has a magic voice. She writes eloquently about war, death, sorrow, joy, hope, and love. Her knowledge of the subject is evident. The reader is transported to 1930 Israel, 1940 England, and introduced to children and the world through their eyes. HIDDEN is made up of two books. The first one takes place in Israel and tells the story of a family who wraps their past in mystery and keeps it hidden from the young granddaughter who lives with them. In backstory the reader is led through the beauty of Israel, the lure of the ocean, the thrill and innocence of young love, the despair of loss, the cost of war. It is a love story that bridges generations.
The second book, HANOVER GARDENS, tells the story of children who are rescued from Nazi Germany and brought to England to be kept safe until the war is over. It's the story of fear and anger and bigotry, of living through bombings, of never knowing what's coming next. It is a story of faith and hope, dedication and sacrifice. You follow each child and see the world through their eyes.
Batya Casper handles the most horrific situations without hysteria or blame. She isn't trying to prove anything. She just tells the story in simple, beautiful words that bring you into that time and place and make it real. So real, you won't forget.
'She read it in a corner while they shaved our hair and sprayed us against lice, like we were dogs in a country fair from before the bad times began, only there were no pink and blue ribbons, no dog biscuits, and we didn't come out looking pretty.' " --Hanover Gardens
---Regge Episale, Editor/Author
"Though separated by time, the Novellas in Batya Casper's “Hidden” are conceptually interlinked by war, human struggle, prejudice, and despair. Common threads: sights, sounds, odors, and feelings transported me to those times and places. Once there, I felt the pain and despair of the characters. Beautifully written!"--Verla R. Powers.
Many regret the mistakes they've made; many struggle to mitigate the consequences. "Hidden" is a novella about the long-term repercussions of a seemingly innocent mistake. Woven from the fabric of many lives & separate generations, it is a story of loss, guilt, & hope.
Please wait for it to reappear on Barnes&Noble and Amazon books. I'd love to hear your reaction. If you like it, I'd love you to leave a review on Amazon books (near the book listing.)
More info coming soon.
Hidden. The story opens with an old man falling down the stairs like a bird from the sky, and a stranger in a yellow dress, purple jacket and boots opening the front door claiming to be “next of kin." It is about a young woman who, for years, refuses to come out of her room; a vagrant who roams the streets at night mumbling to herself, tending to broken birds and stray cats; an older woman who sleeps her life away in her living-room chair; a man who nurses a pain in his chest as he struggles to mend the lives of those around him; and a girl who grows up among people who refuse to tell her who she is, who her parents were, what they looked like, or why they didn’t care enough to “stick around and watch me grow.”
Hanover Gardens, is set in Manchester, England, a wartime city of women, children, and old men. It is the story of two German Jewish girls wrenched from their parents and their separate hiding places and sent to Britain during WW II. Unlike the vagrant they call the “little lost boy,” the sisters huddle underground with the members of their host household as the bombs screech above them and the city of their refuge is blitzed “to hell and back.” The sisters spend their formative years struggling against the gratitude and resentment they feel for the mother and children who have taken them in, and for the other annoying refugees who clutter up the house. All the residents of this home are wrestling with the guilt of their survival, each in his/her own way, with their fears for the parents or children they have left behind, and the prayers they mutter in the dark for their well being. It is a coming of age story of the refugee girls and their British counterparts, all battling their demons, waiting for the war to end, learning to take action, to stand and be counted--while always, always, waiting to see who will survive and come to get them.
Contact: Batyacasper@gmail.com, or find me on FB
Are you interested in historical novels?---In Israel?---her history, her complex social structure?--her relationship with her neighbors?
In Israel, the lives of three women interweave with their country; their lives torn apart by war.
A 3,000 year old rift has existed between cousin nations.
A mammoth effort, a fight for the good life, is going to have to take place in order for these peoples to live at peace with their differences.
What will happen if they won’t fight the good fight?
Will they remain, forever, a
Life-loving people living with war?
--or, will they change?
Read Tablet Magazine article on Israeli diplomat, George Deek, an Israeli Arab representing the state of Israel in Norway. It is so inspiring, I am making note of it on this page, including a small quote here:
"In a lecture in the House of Literature in Oslo, during the launching of the Norwegian translation of Benny Morris’ history book dedicated to the 1948 war, Deek recounted how his grandfather fled Jaffa and reached Lebanon, how he insisted on getting back into Israel when the war ended, and how he raised his family in the nascent Jewish state. He talked about the personal suffering of his own family, now scattered all around the world, but also about the fact that “the Palestinians have become slaves to the past, held captive by the chains of resentment, prisoners in the world of frustration and hate.” But he talked mainly about the way forward, and mainly about hope. He spoke about his neighbor Avraham, a Holocaust survivor, who taught him always to look to the future and not to the past. He gave his listeners a sense of why a young Arab-Palestinian has decided to dedicate his career to the Israeli Foreign Service."
Read the rest of his speech right here, on Israela's blog page. it is fascinating. You won't be sorry.
Israela by Batya Casper
Ratiba is an Israeli journalist who relinquishes family and friends to marry an Arab and move to live in his village. For 30 years, she hides her Jewish identity from her husband and children. Her sister Orit, is an actor who feels betrayed by Ratiba and exacts revenge on her with repercussions that far exceed her intentions. Elisheva dedicates her life to healing the wounded and the dying of the Second Israeli Intifada. As they mature, these women are forced to make choices they would never have imagined.
"Dr. Batya Casper, (author of Electra: A Gender Sensitive Study of Plays Based on the Myth, McFarland & Co. inc. Publishers, 1995) has written Israela, a unique, epic work, spanning many generations and world events. She has somehow managed to compress historical and political issues that could span volumes into one very readable novel. Casper's approach to her narrative is daring and engaging. She writes from the perspectives of three very different women, as well as from the personification of Israel herself. Somehow, these narratives coalesce into a most readable whole that is thought-provoking and memorable. Her language is poetic, descriptive and evocative of time and place. Dr. Casper offers no easy answers or solutions, but the basis for intelligent, informed dialogue. Her love for Israel and its peoples is apparent. So is her feeling of sadness at the distance and hostility between nations whose histories and destinies are destined to be linked. At its core, this is a book about both family alienation and the transformative power of love"--Paula Van Gelder -
"Israela... is a mesmerizing read that gives audiences a glimpse into the complexities of life in Israel. Using an intriguing three-person narrative format that revolves around the central characters, the author allows the reader to step into each character's predicament, thereby fully grasping the emotion and conflict surging within. More importantly, Batya Casper's well-researched and thorough revelations about Israel portray the constant turmoil that its residents, both Arab and Jew, face on a daily basis. Beyond race and ethnicity, Israela is Israel's story--the story of humanity." - Mihir Shah
"This perceptive, poignant novel offers a fresh and essential outlook on Israel. With memorable characters and an abundance of drama, Israela is gripping reading."
- Lou Aronica, New York Times bestselling author
"In my heart, I call to their mothers, 'Take your sons to your houses. Bind them to your chairs; gag them, blindfold them if necessary until they grow calm. Then teach them, for they have forgotten, about peace, about the blessed life, about a future—a present—without pain.' Beneath their prayers, in their morning cups of coffee, beneath their love-making and their child-rearing, and in their sorrow, especially in their sorrow when burying their dead, I hear the simmering of heating souls; I smell the charge of armies, of lives exploding uselessly into smithereens. I sit in mourning over a disaster still to come."
"A baby is lying there, swaddled in gauze. As I reach toward him over the flames, I break the circle of fire and wake up."
"Life changed after that. I walked, as I do now, everyday on the beach..."
love, betrayal, and hope--a family fragmented by war and by Intifada
People living with war.
Click here to see the book review at
"He lowers himself into his metal chair, his head in his hands, on his desk. Then, 'I don't understand her,' he says, looking directly at me, a child's whiny tone in his voice, as though begging me for an answer. 'I thought we had the perfect relationship. I thought Ratiba was perfect. Now I find out she's not even Ratiba.'"
Israela: lies, secrets, and alienation; hope and heroism; a historical fiction about Arabs who save Jews from disaster and Jews who heal Arabs; a tale of everyday people torn and desperately searching for the right path.
How would you act if you were one of the characters in this story?--Because almost every character in Israela is keeping a secret from those they love most.
I used to consider myself lucky. I never really knew what my values were – beyond, of course, the need not to kill or hurt anyone; because it is only when our values are stretched beyond that line in the sand that we learn what we are willing to fight for. All the characters in Israela face that line in the sand.
Israela is a tale as fated and mythical as the Bible; as modern and concrete as the last mortar attack. Discover yourselves in a story of one multifaceted family, of love and violence, of individuals desperately seeking answers, seeking peace under war.
"Sarima lunged toward me: 'What's the matter with you?' she hissed. The professor focused his full attention on me and glowered... 'I told you that...until each of us really sees the other, there will never be peace in this region. Personal relationships are the same as politics, Ratiba, viewed through a narrower lens.'"
"...two stags confronting each other on a hilltop,wary, eyeballs still as glass."
Immerse yourselves, just for a while, in the history, mythology,and traditions of Israel, and the vicissitudes of the human heart,
for it is individuals, not political factions, who experience the tragedy, the hope, and despair.
Recognize the human face behind the Israel Arab conflict.
Israela is my attempt at an even-handed view of a polarizing conflict.
It is a story of
3 women and their loved-ones torn apart by threat, opposing ideologies, and warfare.
Read, become acquainted with the loves, anxieties, and losses of men and women, just like you, living and loving under war.
Life-loving people living with war.
Are they just like you?
Ask yourselves how you would act if you were one of these characters
I would love you to post your opinions on my blog page,
Sincerely, Batya Casper.