A family summer vacation in a quaint Welsh village – such an unlikely backdrop for an unusual dream sequence to begin. Hanna decries the onset of mysterious, uncontrollable dreams that transport her to distant lands and times long past. She claims the dreams portray the painful history of two ancient families and the path of their descendants through time.
Aaron, her husband, believes the dreams stem from Hanna’s unresolved personal history. Born in Germany on the cusp of WWII, her parents sent her away to escape the insanity of the Nazis. Adopted in London as a mere child, she is raised by loving Presbyterian parents. Yet, as she matures, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Judaism. Hounded by questions of her true identity, yet lacking any hard proof, she undergoes a rigorous conversion and embraces a fervently Jewish life – but the questions persist and the dreams continue. As with many an adoptee, Aaron hopes that resolving the mystery of her birth parents might cause the unsettling dreams to stop.
Hannah’s earliest dreams reveal events during the waning decades of the Second Temple era; she vividly envisions two families forced to flee the wrath of King Herod the Great. Separated at sea, one goes south to Alexandria and the other drifts to Rome. Through the centuries, we follow the migrations, hardships, and struggles of their descendants as the Alexandrian family spreads eastward as far as India and the Roman family wanders westward, eventually to America. A boyish guide figure appears regularly in Hannah’s night visions, providing clues to resolve a 2,000 year-old mystery these families share – and a promise to unravel Hanna’s personal secret.
In Flashback, Israel-based author Gita Gordon presents a masterful and fast-moving work of well-researched historical fiction. The characters, events, and settings are credible and compelling. The plot development is as intricate as a tightly-woven tapestry, with twists and turns of irony that render Flashback a most absorbing and rewarding read. With breathless anticipation we follow the strands of the fast-paced story through continents and centuries until suddenly – all the strands come together. This book is a dream come true, in more ways than one.