by Trini Amador
Published: July 2013
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Genre: Historical, WW2
Hardback: 269 pages
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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.
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." Mikolaus had smiled broadly but had not explained further.
-chapter 11, page 119
She was a zombie. Walking dead like the others.
-chapter 17, page 155
I love how this story of the past is told with a perspective of Paris during WWII. It is like listening to a grandparent with proverbs thrown in here and there along with introduction to Basque and Parisian culture of the time period.
I was also taken with the main characters' work ethic and drive to go to America - inspiring.
Note: Black and white photos are included in the book as seen in the book trailer above.
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* review copy and giveaway courtesy of Gracianna tour - check out the other stops for more details on this book and goodies sponsored by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.