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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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.
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 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: www.gracianna.com, 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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DETAILS ABOUT THE BOOK | DISCLAIMER:
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Greenleaf Book Group Press
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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GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER
To enter the giveaway, just follow the link below.
The contest ends at 12:00am on November 20th.
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- Review: Gracianna, Trini Amador (momwithabook.com)
- Book review and giveaway: Gracianna (wordsandpeace.com)
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.