Story of Fierce Determination | Gracianna by Trini Amador | Blog Tour Sponsored by HFVT


“Odds are I was the only four-year-old to have ever freely fumbled a loaded German Luger.”  Prologue to Gracianna, Trini Amador remembers

“Once she decided to engage with anyone on a given subject, they would become transfixed by her confidence, and the grasp and depth of her knowledge.  Her sureness came from her strong core.”  Describing Gracianna (page 7)

“Even though we did not learn much about other kinds of people, I am glad how we learned to be tolerant of others no matter their difference.”  Gracianna speaking (page 46)


The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.

(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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My Thoughts:

The opening line to Gracianna is startling once you realize this four-year old boy is the man writing the book you’re holding. More startled than the reader, I believe, was his great-grandmother who turned to find Amador holding the Luger pointing at her.

Toni Amador has lovingly coupled what he knows of his great-grandmother’s story, holding it safely in his hands near his heart, with what he believes may have happened as her story played out in war-ravaged Paris during World War II.

From the French-Basque country, Gracianna Lasaga travels in search of a better, more productive life than that of a Basque sheep herder’s wife. In Paris, Gracianna finds a different lifestyle and an entirely different world than she has ever known.

As she sees her sister taken away by Nazi soldiers to Auschwitz, Gracianna becomes determined to find her sister any way she can. Her determination aligns her with the French Resistance and a life of sheer threat and danger. Will she find her sister alive? Will she live to continue her search? Is her life worth the risk she takes?

The one thing I would like to have seen more of is Paris through the eyes of young Gracianna. It must have overwhelmed this 16-year old Basque farm girl to arrive in Paris, and yet the reader doesn’t experience her reaction fully to the first sights and sounds. Also, at times some of the characters seem a bit distant, perhaps due to the third-person nature of the book.

And still I fell in love with Gracianna and her story. Her courage, strength and determination are alive on the pages of as you read of her commitment to the French Resistance and finding her sister.

My Recommendation: 

Lovers of historical fiction, especially centered around World War II and particularly France, will enjoy this book immensely. Anyone who loves a good story of honor, love and determination will come away satisfied.


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Meet the Author:

Trini Amador AuthorTrini Amador vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun. This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination. It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.

Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values, motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15 years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..

Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg, California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at:, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

(Bio and author photo supplied by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

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Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Greenleaf Book Group Press
Historical Fiction
Hardcover; 296pp
ISBN-10: 1608325709

I received a copy of Gracianna from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.

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To enter the giveaway, just follow the link below.
The contest ends at 12:00am on November 20th.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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COMING UP:  Something for the family — Vacation Hiro by Meg Welch Dendler. Don’t miss my review of the second book in the Cats in the Mirror Series. 


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19 thoughts on “Story of Fierce Determination | Gracianna by Trini Amador | Blog Tour Sponsored by HFVT

  1. […] to Charity at This Happy Homestead! Charity is the winner of a copy of Gracianna by Trini Amador, reviewed here on November […]


  2. Shannon @ River City Reading November 19, 2013 at 4:34 am Reply

    I love the inspiration for this book,it sounds like a really fascinating story that would have otherwise stayed locked within a family.


    • Sherrey Meyer November 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm Reply

      Shannon, so happy you stopped by today. This is one of the most amazing stories I have read about a woman Gracianna’s age and what she was willing to do for her family and her people. I don’t know if at that age, I had that kind of determination and will.


  3. RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book November 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm Reply

    I enjoyed this book and just think it is gorgeous. Trini really spent a lot of time and effort showing his passion for the story through beautifying the book itself.


    • Sherrey Meyer November 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm Reply

      Isn’t this one of the most amazing stories? And to think it would have stayed hidden except for Trini’s love of his great-grandmother and family. It is a marvelous work.


  4. Elizabeth November 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm Reply

    I fell in love with Gracianna too. I really liked the book.

    THANKS for your great review and your thoughts.

    My review is up on November 22.

    Nice blog…I don’t think I have visited before.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog


    • Sherrey Meyer November 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm Reply

      Elizabeth, I apologize! I thought I had replied to your comment earlier, but guess that was a comment I left on your blog. So glad you stopped by and that we’ve connected now. Look forward to future encounters of the bookish kind.


  5. Karen Fisher Alaniz November 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm Reply

    Sounds like a good read! I’m going to share this the Life Writers class I teach. My oldest student is a 92-year-old WWII veteran who has some amazing stories to tell!


    • Sherrey Meyer November 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm Reply

      Definitely an interesting book to share with your class. They must be an amazing group!


  6. Sherrey Meyer November 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm Reply

    Charity, my girl, we are related and other than through the Meyer family ties. I love historical fiction, and some day hope to write a couple of historical novels. And as you do, I get lost in time and place, people, architecture and their high points and their lows. Haven’t read too much about Mary, Queen of Scots, because I got caught up in the Boleyns and also WWII. Don’t ask me about the war thing! Anyway, I’m so glad you came by and hope you continue to follow as I’ve got more reviews down the historical fiction trail coming up in January, maybe in December. Good luck in the contest. 🙂


    • the wife November 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm Reply

      So true!
      I was about useless while I read both the Zion Chronicles and Zion Covenant by Bodie Thoene. Just read and cried for weeks. Seriously. I think I am going to have to do some research on the Boleyns and Tudors now. 🙂
      Thank you for letting me know about the contest!


      • Sherrey Meyer November 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm Reply

        Have you read any of Philippa Gregory’s books? She has some really good ones out there. Also, check out the site, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour (the one sponsoring this review and giveaway), and you’ll find lots of great writers of historical fiction and their books. Have fun!


  7. the wife November 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm Reply

    Sherrey, we MUST be related somewhere down the line. Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read! I get so engrossed and lost in the story, living, breathing, and crying or laughing with every scene. They aren’t pages, they are where you find me. Currently, I’m on a crazy ride with Mary, Queen of Scots!
    I want to win this one!! I’ve entered 🙂


  8. Carol Bodensteiner November 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm Reply

    Both the story and the way it came to life sound interesting. Thanks for introducing me to another writer of historical fiction, Sherrey.


    • Sherrey Meyer November 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm Reply

      Absolutely, Carol! I love historical fiction and have a few others coming up in December and January through this book tour host.


  9. WordsAndPeace November 12, 2013 at 6:52 am Reply

    I thought I knew the characters really well in this remarkable histfic


    • Sherrey Meyer November 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm Reply

      Glad you had that reading experience. Good luck in the contest!


  10. tpolen November 12, 2013 at 5:24 am Reply

    Always on the lookout for some good historical fiction (with a good bit of nonfiction thrown in). This sounds fascinating.


    • Sherrey Meyer November 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm Reply

      I liked the way Amador balanced the story he had with the story he had to imagine. Great blend in his writing. Hope you win this one — you did enter, right?


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