Book 1 of the Gavrielle Series
Two strangers from opposite sides of the globe, both at a crossroads in their lives, meet in Rome. They could hardly be more different, so why do they feel so connected?
Gavrielle Rozmann (daughter of Ilana Rozmann from The Lonely Tree) is on leave from a career in the Intelligence Branch of the Israeli army. After suffering loss and the general trauma of the Yom Kippur War, she is also dealing with a personal crisis. Born an orphan, she has received information that a man in Florida might be able to help her find the father she has never known. Should she get on a plane for Florida? Instead, she boards one for Rome – for a vacation and time to think about how she wants to see the rest of her life.
In the Italian language class she decides to take, she meets Charlie Freeman (from Whatever Happened to Mourning Free?). Charlie is a young African-American man who has just graduated from the University of Michigan. Charlene – the white woman whose family he lives with – has big plans for him. She believes he could become a true leader, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But her plans have little to do with the future he envisions for himself. What better place for a student of art and architecture to take time for reflection than the open air museum called Rome?
These two strangers seem to have absolutely nothing in common, but feel a surprising affinity for one another. As they take some unexpected side trips, they slowly discover they share a basic reality that other people may find difficult to understand. The Summer of 1974 draws you into the lives of believable, well-developed characters – people you care about, even when you may not approve of their actions. Though set in a specific historical/political context, this is a book about personal relationships – love, friendship, and family.
Set in Rome, the Sinai Peninsula, Jerusalem, and Michigan.
“Readers will relish this fine story, which will linger in their thoughts long after they turn the last page. Gavrielle, a young Israeli woman who is an officer in the Intelligence Branch of the Israel Defense Forces, is struggling with a number of personal issues. The most immediate is a decision she faces - does she really want to embark upon a search for her unknown father? Following the vividly depicted trauma of the Yom Kippur War and the horrific terror attacks that followed it, she desperately needs time away from it all to reflect. The IDF grants her a prolonged leave of absence, and she chooses Rome for a brief vacation from reality. There she hopes to find the peace of mind to consider her choices and how she wants to spend the rest of her life. In Rome, in the class she decides to take at an Italian language school, she meets Charlie Freeman. Gavrielle and this young African-American man immediately feel an unexpected affinity for one another. Charlie insists there is no dilemma, but only one answer to her question - of course, she must look for her father (whom she believes is an American). Otherwise, she will always regret not doing so. And he is going to help her. Charlie succeeds where others have failed, drawing her out of her self-imposed solitude. As their friendship develops, readers discover what makes these two disparate strangers feel so connected. The Summer of 1974 has the full-bodied flavor of a fine experiential learning piece. As Gavrielle and Charlie interact, they help one another reconcile their past and present lives with their ambitions for the future, and are able to view their own lives through a fresh perspective. The Summer of 1974 is a riveting story of self-doubt, confrontation, redemption, recovery, and determination. While reading The Summer of 1974, fans of previous novels by Ms. Politis (The Lonely Tree and Whatever Happened to Mourning Free?) will be pleasantly surprised to encounter some old friends, now at a later stage in their lives.” Midwest Book Review, April 2019, D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer
“Compelling, beautifully researched and beautifully told” Yael Politis weaves well-researched history into all her stories, bringing depth to all her characters and places, and drawing her readers in. There’s wisdom in this story and its people, as well as excitement, mystery, love and fear. The Summer of 1974 stands alone as a complete and enthralling novel, but ends with the promise of more. I, for one, will look forward to learning more of Gavrielle and Charlie. Disclosure: I was given a pre-release copy and I love it.” Sheila Deeth, Vine Voice Reviewer
“Can’t wait for book 2!” “This is the first time I've ever posted a review. Her books are so wonderful and enjoyable...I just had to! I loved the Olivia series....read twice so far. Then the Lonely Tree was exceptional....and now to have combined them with the characters meetings....I was enthralled! I am so looking forward to Book 2!” Robin Kay, Amazon Customer
“Highly recommended; looking forward to the sequel!” “Great to see another book from this talented author, whose writing I enjoy very much. One of her many strengths is the detailed research that goes into them. So besides connecting with the well-drawn characters and caring about them, I learned something about the history and politics of the setting, the Middle East. She weaves in, well and simply, that context, which adds to understanding of the story without dragging down the flow at all. The central character is a strong female — yay — who is sleuthing some family history, and I very much enjoyed the literary technique of showing us in first person what she’s thinking and feeling. Then in a supporting role is a character from Michigan who makes his reappearance from an earlier book, and I was glad to “ be with him” again. Will definitely be watching for the next in the Gavrielle series or any other volume from Yael Politis!” Yvonne, Amazon Customer
“An insightful and very enjoyable read““Rich and rewarding … the beginning of a new series by one of my favourite authors, Yael Politis.” Wilma Lettings, Amazon Customer
“Another Good Read” “I have read 4 other books written by Yael Politis. As with the others, I really enjoyed this book. In addition to the story, I really loved the descriptions of Israel and the Sinai Peninsula. ”Roberta A. Chase, Amazon Customer