Reviews of The Lonely Tree on YWO

Lonely Tree cover

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Over 90 fellow writers reviewed and rated the first three chapters of The Lonely Tree on YouWriteOn, a site for writers funded by the London Arts Council.  The high ratings they gave The Lonely Tree led to it being selected as one of the top five submissions for 2009 and receiving a Book of the Year Award. They also helped bring The Lonely Tree to the attention of Holland Park Press, who subsequently published it.

Review Extracts

Superb  …  writing is powerful, evocative and extremely moving. Tonia is wholly credible  …  and the reader is drawn into her world, which is three dimensional and beautifully described. There are wonderful light touches which add to the authenticity  …  Excellent!   Ann Nibbs

This opening extract from the novel ‘The Lonely Tree’ is really excellent  …  The author with an accomplished, unhurried writing style, married to a supreme attention to detail sets about this with compassion and skill  …  On the whole, a first rate piece of writing   neil a randall

…  completely excellent work, all the way around  …  I was riveted. I was right there in all the action, all of which unfolded naturally. Seamlessly, in fact. The characters were all well-drawn, utterly believable – I heard each voice distinctly in my mind as I read, hell, I know these folks personally – the settings were brilliant, the pace, the structure, the themes and ideas  …  Wow. Great, great work, very well written  …  one of the best pieces I’ve had the good fortune to review  …  Awesome story   squid (Erich Orser)

…  an interesting look at troubles in Israel/Palestine from a completely different perspective to that which we read in our daily newspapers. A refreshing view of life through the eyes of a teenage girl. Pace and characterisation are just about perfect.  Sufficient narrative to provide a backdrop without significantly distracting the reader’s attention from the story, and the backstory was sensibly left until we were involved in the main tale  …  this was almost perfect   dwrob

A Gripping Story  …  Wow! This is very well-written. I couldn’t put it down. The characters are well-drawn, the setting is vivid, the shift from the kibbutz to WWII Europe done smoothly, the dialogue is well-done  …  You really paint a clear picture of the historical drama of those times, much of which is forgotten in today’s news reports  …  Great writing   georgepolley

This is a fascinating story  …  It creates a most intriguing picture of life in Israel around the 1940s. You manage to convey the attitudes and atmosphere without doing too much explaining  …  Tonia is a most believable character, and indeed so is her father  …  You create an edgy, raw feeling of a country starting to make itself happen, and the plight of a girl who does not want to join in the effort  …  Congratulations on this excellent piece of work   SweetiePie

Powerful story set in a strong historic backdrop  …  I was hooked by this tale from early on. The main protagonist, Tonia, is a complex character, although her emotions are described with readable simplicity  …  It was so descriptive without being self consciously full of facts and figures, that I learned a lot from it that I didn’t know already  …  There was a polished quality to the writing that makes it roll along well, and the pace is also fast enough to keep the reader interested. It had that well researched feel that makes one wonder how the writer compiled everything so naturally   gerard

A most talented work. Yael P writes with warmth and artistry; as the reader begins ‘The Lonely Tree’ they are welcomed into its world as though with the flick of a switch.  The opening chapters are delightful and engaging, despite the downbeat nature of the events. A story that could easily become bogged down by detail and turn into a history lesson is rescued by vibrant characters. The reader quickly develops an affinity with them and feels like they are eavesdropping on real events rather than reading a story  mrchin

This is a very emotive and evocative piece of historical fiction, written in a fluent and eminently readable style which allows readers to form their own opinions of the actions without trying to lead or influence. In short, this is literary fiction, and the strength of the writing makes the story stronger  …  the style of writing and the characterisation are both excellent   perri

This covers a fascinating period, one which has had and will continue to have, a major impact on world relations and individuals  …  The work is well researched  …   Patrick G

Powerful Theme  …  brilliant story   annierab2

 Truly a Saga  …  The writing of this story seems very authentic  …  The bigger picture of world history impinges on the life of this family but the story remains properly focused on the individuals  …  Deserves to be widely read   David

The characters are alive and compelling from the very start, torn by strong emotions and conflicts  …  The historical setting, the atmosphere and dialogues are so authentic, that one can feel as part of the plot. This is a mature, vivid story, great material for a motion picture   Kati

This is a good, well written story. It reads well and it reads true. The characters are full fleshed – easy to see – easy to understand. Tonia is an absorbing character  …  Pace and structure were good, use of language excellent. A good plain easy to read style  …  The dialogue is realistic, the settings clear”   aves

This is a very well written piece. The story is engaging with well rounded characters and a fascinating setting, both in time and place. I connected early on with Tonia  …  a really enjoyable read  Harry

…  an excellent read  …  The scene setting, character building and pace were all excellent. There is a very nice balance of information in the story, never once does it feel academic, yet we learn quite a lot about life in Israel  …  Wonderful   BillMc

The heart-breaking story of those early years comes across vividly in The Lonely Tree   Brian L

….  should be made into a movie  …  I was so swept away with Tonia and her family …   CaldwellElle

Thoroughly enjoyed this. A perspective on the era covered that I have never come across before and found totally refreshing   Chris Pitt

Great Writing  …  The characters are very real. The story likewise is very believable, very dramatic and although a lot of literature has been written about this time period, I don’t know of any written from this perspective   Chuck Buckner

What a pleasure it is to review a manuscript which is so professional, so well written   colingwest

This is a well-written, totally alive story. It talks about real people caught in a storm so big, they themselves couldn’t comprehend it   denisgianna

Very good! What a wonderful story to read   eilidh

I found this prose extremely well written. The writer maintains a good pace and the work is eminently readable  …  give the reader an unique glimpse into the life of a young Jewish girl in the nineteen thirties and forties. The writer paints the scene well and kept me interested   isobell

I really enjoyed reading this. What a pleasure to find a piece of work that is well paced and interesting  JimmyB

A poignant tale  …  Beautifully written and full of feeling   johngcyprus

 … an excellent story with a strong central character   lozzamus

 Overall an enjoyable and gripping tale of family hardship seen from an unusual perspective   Jonluke

 An Authoritative Piece of Writing  …  I was very impressed by the author’s knowledgeable writing  …  The characters came across very vividly, especially Tonia, and her mother Leah. The geographics were expertly illustrated, and gave the reader a real feel for this emerging country. The pace and back story moved along very smoothly, I never felt it dragged or got bogged down in too much detail  …  a jolly good read  JoWalmesley

 I thought that this excerpt was exceptional. I was whisked away to another time, place and culture and introduced to some very interesting characters  …  The author did an excellent job of bringing all the necessary information to the reader and it moved along at a nice pace   margal

…  gets off to a good pace and immediately draws the reader in. Your scenario is both interesting and well-described and I found an immediate and developing empathy for Tonia. Your characters are very believable!  …  Overall very enjoyable   mbk5050

 The story is gripping and truly transports the reader in time and place  mikeperry

 Quite simply one of the best pieces I have read and reviewed on YWO  …  Tonia is an intriguing character placed at a very interesting time in the Middle East’s turgid history  …  You paint beautifully vivid scenes that are so easy to picture. The dialogue is crisp and natural   Modest Mouse

A lovely read  …  I liked this story – I found it very moving and your central character, Tonia is wonderfully engaging.  …  Your descriptions of place are beautiful and you have created a real world for me here – one I can hear, see and smell  sheilab

This is excellent, taut writing. We quickly understand Tonia’s circumstances – revealed easily and naturally – and clearly see her determined and courageous character   songbird

Wow  …  The narrative voice, echoing the girl’s disdain and loss of faith in her world, feels so real   syaoran

I formed a relationship with Tonia immediately and I would say that your characters are strongly defined and I like the way the story progresses through their experience  …  There was absolutely nothing that I consider negative in this offering. It is polished in the extreme and has a steady pace, perfect characterisation and the establishment of the settings can only come from personal experience  …  fine piece of work  taggie01 (Prue Batten)

You write with a wonderfully unintrusive fluency that allows you to transmit a huge amount of information very deceptively so that the reader isn’t aware of anything except what an enjoyable story they’re reading. Tonia is a super main character   Tommi

 This is an excellent, professional piece of writing. I found the setting fresh and original, and the characters are all individual and believable   whittington

 I loved what I have read so far. It is one of the pieces of writing I have enjoyed the most on this site – beautifully crafted. You bring the characters to life so effortlessy, the reader is immediately drawn into their world   writerchick


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