Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Trini Amador
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
“Every Basque marriage should have two elements,” Mikolaus had said, his eyes sparkling. “One spouse must be a lover, and the other, a fighter. For years in our culture, this has worked well.” Juan recalls in Trini Amador’s novel, Gracianna.
At two hundred and seventy-seven pages, this paperback book has a worn photograph of a woman viewed from chest down walking on a railroad track carrying a suitcase on the front cover. With minor profanity and depictions of the brutality of war, this fictional tome would be geared for mature young adult and older. With punctuation errors, the reader gets slowed down in the flow of the story that surrounds the writer’s memory of a German Luger he found at his great-grandmother’s house when he was four years old.
With prematurely white hair, Basque-born Gracianna and her sister Constance live in the Pyrenees before World War Two begins. After their mother dies in childbirth, the girls are raised by their grandmother who instills into them to “be proud, proud and perfect.”
When imaginative Gracianna turns eighteen, she leaves her grandmother’s strict upbringing, develops an interest in reading and learning, and moves to Paris to make it on her own, with the ultimate goal to go to America.
However, the strong, resilient woman dreamily anticipates a university boy to sweep her off her feet as she busses tables in Paris and works hard, learning about the city and its citizens. Meanwhile back at home, the shy, introvert sheep herder, Juan, and Gracianna’s sister decide to follow her to Paris for fortune and adventure.
With the first one hundred pages arduously setting up the characters and their personalities and expectations, the storyline aggressively picks up when Nazi Germany overtakes Paris and the three are thrown into deciding to participate in the French Resistance. Centering on the German Luger and its history, the characters are thrust into protecting one another while one is wrongfully sent to a concentration camp.
Will determined Gracianna find her true love to take her away from war and to America? Will lonely Juan have courage and determination to go the distance for what he wants? Will impetuous Constance come to realize her actions speak louder than words?
This expressive but sometimes cruel, violent and ruthless treatment of humans during a war shows how love can conquer the deepest hurts, pains and memories that could have reasonably happened during this time in history, all focused around one simple but deadly object.
This book was furnished by the author for review purposes.
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