Being Lena Levi

Bobbie Ann Cole

ISBN: 9781912726097 

224 Pages

Published Sep 2019

Young Adult

Paperback £8.99 Kindle £1.99
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It’s 1950: a mysterious stranger shows up at Marlene Roberts’ Canterbury home, turning her teenage world upside down. The exotic ‘Mutti’, a German Jew and Holocaust survivor, is the mother she never knew she had.

Years earlier, Mutti had sent the infant Marlene to England for safety but now she wants her daughter – her ‘Lena Levi’ – back. As Marlene finds her whole identity thrown into doubt, can she still trust her English ‘mum’? And can she rely on the charismatic Mutti, a volatile woman deeply scarred by the horrors of Auschwitz?

Compelled to find out who she really is, Marlene boldly determines to go to the newly founded state of Israel to resurrect a younger self she thought she had forgotten.

For Marlene Roberts, being Lena Levi is going to be the adventure of a lifetime.

  • Recent historical events, largely unknown because of British embarrassment, two single mothers fighting over a child, a girl robbed of her real identity in search of the truth, in a strange land filled with broken people looking for a new world – Bobbie Ann Cole has succeeded in telling a wonderful, epic story of heart-rending times, told through the eyes of a young woman innocently caught up in them. It was a story waiting to be told – and Bobbie does it brilliantly. I was completely hooked.

    Michele Guinness, author and broadcaster
  • A moving story, evocative and delightfully imagined.

    Andrew Bartlett, author of Men and Women in Christ: Fresh Light from the Biblical Texts
  • An engaging story of identity and belonging in which a young girl must decide on her own future. Lena Levi’s dilemma is written with great command and insight. We learn so much from this novel and yet it’s accessible in every way. A truly compelling read.

    Caroline Greville, author of Badger Clan, and lecturer in Creative Writing at Christ Church University, Canterbury
  • An engaging tale of a young girl coming to terms with her true identity in the shadow of World War Two and the birth of the nation of Israel. This is an assured novel with well-crafted characters and a ring of authenticity that left me wanting to find out more about Lena Levi’s continuing life journey.

    Martyn Barr, author of The Young Person’s History Guide to Canterbury
  • The idyllic, Christian life of fourteen-year-old Marlene Roberts is shattered when a strange woman appears, claiming to be her mother, and claiming that Marlene is really Lena Levi, whom she sent on the Kindertransport at the age of three. A roller coaster of emotions ensues as Marlene becomes Lena, the Jewish daughter of 'Mutti' and begins a new life with her on a kibbutz in the newly established State of Israel. A fast-paced, brilliantly written tale of identity and history!

    Laura Fels, Deputy Director, Christian Embassy London
  • The challenge of discovering Lena’s true identity and coming to terms with the implications for this young woman’s life are delightfully portrayed as she finds her way through confusion and anger to new discoveries about the fulness of life.

    Reverend Sara Bimson, Minor Canon, Canterbury Cathedral
  • I loved this book. Being Lena Levi took me to some places and times which I needed to visit, and had not previously understood … This teenage girl’s quest for identity and belonging in a broken world has much to say to our generation, and I’m looking forward to passing it on to my teenage daughter who I think will love it too!

    Dr Corinne Hagan, Pastor’s Wife, Chair of Kent Women's Convention
  • This gripping novel will take you on a journey into the real drama for many Holocaust survivors. It touched my heart with fresh compassion as the dramatic story unfolded. I recommend this moving novel as a true glimpse into one life story during this tumultuous time in history.

    Nancy Wilson, Author, Speaker, Global Ambassador for Cru, Orlando, USA
  • Bobbie Ann Cole weaves an impressive narrative which explores issues of identity, belonging, family relationships and cultural dynamics. It is an enjoyable read which will appeal to many, and gives insights into the joys and struggles of Israeli life and finding what is meant by seeking to find “home”.

    Rev Alex Jacob, CEO, The Church’s Ministry among Jewish People
  • The character-driven plot, combined with a narrative that draws you in, makes this a must-read book. Bobbie Ann Cole is a writer to watch.

    Wendy H Jones Award-winning Author and President of the Scottish Association of Writers
  • Being Lena Levi is a faith story that needs to be told. As Lena finds her way through the relational complexities of having two mothers, she wrestles with her newly acquired Jewish history as it confronts the Christian faith of her upbringing. As Christians we have often ignored our rich and foundational Jewish heritage. Bobbie Ann Cole invites us to journey with Lena and discover the richness of Christ stepping out of the Jewish tradition. In embracing them both, we too find our way home to a fuller faith and deeper understanding of where we belong.

    Pastor Heidi Billington, NextGen Ministries, Smythe Street Church, Canada

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