Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
Author: Sandy Powers
Author: Sandy Powers
The book opens as the author brings her mother home from
the hospital, there to die. After her mother’s death, she
discovers her mother’s journals along with letters, news articles
and historical documents in boxes her mother had left for her
children. The journals are corroborated by the newspaper articles
and enhanced by the letters and tell stories of astonishing drama.
The author adds no embellishment whatsoever but allows her mother to
tell the story of her tragic childhood in straight forward, matter of
fact language. Rather than dwell on her sad past, this strong woman
focuses on the best part of her life: the love she finds and
maintains with her husband. She describes their meeting and the “love
at first sight” attraction in the same matter of fact language she
uses to describe her stepmother’s abuse.
Clearly this was a woman
who took life’s ups and downs in her stride and did what she needed
to “get it done” whatever the job at hand might be. This love
that she shares with her husband is stronger than the sad losses of
childhood and gives her the strength and confidence to bring five
children of her own into the world. It also gives her the strength
and courage to conquer cancer in the early fifties when treatment was
more experimental than it is today. Her response to her cancer
diagnosis is representative of her response to life generally: she
tells her doctor that with a husband and five children “dying is
not an option”.
Ultimately cancer returns to claim her life but
not until she has raised the children to adulthood and spent what I
calculate must be close to seventy years with the love of her life. I
won’t spoil the impact of the amazing events she writes about in
her journals by describing the unusual details of her life but do
highly recommend that the reader discover them by reading this brief
and fascinating book. I’ll just whisper the words “murder”,
“war”and “spy” and you begin to get the picture. I don’t
know if the author has plans to write about her own memories of a
life with her amazing mother but I for one would be most interested
in reading it. Grace Balogh was definitely a woman worth knowing.
Congratulations to her daughter for putting together this tribute.
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