Gracianna_Tour #2 Banner_FINAL

Gracianna

by

Trini AMADOR

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

Hardcover received from the author
via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

GraciannaIn full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book for free from  the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

***

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

   hf-reading-challenge-2013 New Authors 2013

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating systemMy family, like still many families in France, was actively part of the Resistance, and suffered a great deal during that time. Hence the fair amount of historical novels on the Resistance I have read recently.

Like How Angels Die, the novel focuses on 2 sisters and how they deal with that period in their life. But Gracianna is unique first because of the region Gracianna and her sister Constance come from: the Basque region, on the French side of the mountain. But never tell a Basque he/she is French!

Also, Gracianna was the author’s great-grand-mother, so even so it’s fiction, a lot of it is based on family memories and stories.

Gracianna was born at the turn of the 20th century, and like many people of her region, her life revolves around sheep and nature. But this young girl has a very strong will and great dreams, such as going to live and work in the United States. So at 18, she just leaves to work in Paris, in the hope to make more money and faster than in her village.
And there’s Juan, the shepherd boy from a neighboring village, also a dreamer, and who enjoys Gracianna’s company…

The problem is, history does not stay still, and WWII suddenly puts lots of obstacles in their lives. After an accident, Gracianna is approached by the Resistance and asked to do very special missions for them and for her country. If she accepts and manages to fulfill her mission, she will get boat tickets for the US!

Things get even more complicated with the arrival of Constance in Paris at the worst of times.  Constance is not as wise and discreet as her sister, and she finds herself quickly in major trouble, a question of life and death. Will Gracianna be able to help her? Can actually anyone in her situation ever be helped? Will Gracianna give up her dream to try to save her sister?

I can only leave you these questions and invite you to read the book.

The characters are extremely well defined. Gracianna is portrayed like a woman with an extreme strong will and very tough, apparently like many women of her region; she is very courageous and perfectionist, used to very hard work.  Constance is also very tough in her own way, and for sure very creative to try to survive the most terrible hardships. I also enjoyed a lot Juan, the dreamer and seemingly timid boy, but patient enough to get what he really loves in life. And there are the German soldiers, described with great realism, the jerks, the ones seeking pleasure where they can, and the ones who just g through the motion because they have no other choice than do their job.

It reads like a mystery, especially when Gracianna arrives in Paris, and when we discover what happened to Constance. The outcome of the whole thing sounds really amazing, but this part is indeed true.
The descriptions of the landscape in the Basque region and conditions of the villages around the sheep were wonderful.
One neat thing in the style of the book is the incorporation of many sayings of wisdom, coming from Gracianna’s grand-mother, who raised her.
And the illustration at the beginning of each chapter is beautiful.
One thing I didn’t like is the presence of too many incorrect and really unnecessary French words!

This book was very enjoyable; there were of course some tough passages, but the historical horror was presented in a bearable way. The message of the book is gratitude, when you manage to get through life, however tough it can be, and follow your dreams in the company of people dear to your heart.

If you like novels on the French Resistance and novels featuring strong women, you really need to meet Gracianna.

QUOTATIONS

The passages in italics are in italics in the text, some of Gracianna’s grand-mother’s words of wisdom.

The more you expect, the more you will gain. p. 17

Those who don’t look forward, stay behind. p.38

Through effort and sacrifice, the impossible can be done. p. 39

The Nazis arrived with efficiency at 8 p.m.  sharp. Black ink had arrived in the dining room; their dark boots wrote evil words on the tiled floor as they cracked. Gracianna wondered how she would scrub the evil imprints of their footsteps off the floor. p.121

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

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.

Praise for Gracianna

“Gracianna is a riveting and remarkable narrative. The characters come alive through their unassuming but compelling stories, as Nazi-occupied Paris unfolds before our eyes. We come to care deeply about the characters, which makes putting down the book almost impossible. Highly recommended.” – Stacey Katz Bourns, Director of Language Programs, Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

“While wine is obviously a significant part of life’s enjoyment, the story behind the wine can be even more gratifying. You will be fixated on this thrilling story written by Trini Amador which was inspired by Gracianna, his great-grandmother, the French Basque namesake of his family’s award-winning winery in Sonoma County.” – Bob Cabral, Director of Winemaking & General Manager, Williams Selyem Winery

“Gracianna is a gripping story about human courage and determination. This book truly deserves a movie because of the action and emotions in it. Trini Amador has done a fantastic job in bringing the story of his amazing grandmother to life. A must read for fiction and non-fiction lovers alike.” —Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trini Amador 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.

***

AND NOW FOR A CHANCE
TO WIN A  COPY OF THIS BOOK

Good luck!

Notes:
* If you have problems entering the giveaway for this book, please send me an email before midnight on 11/14 at ehc16e {at] yahoo [dot) com. Include in it:
  1. the title of the book you are entering to win – write this in the subject to be sure I don’t think your email is spam
  2. the email address you use to subscribe to this blog by email [after you enter your email address in the top right corner to follow my blog by email, you will receive an email confirmation. If you do not confirm, your subscription will not show as active, and I will not be able to count your entry in the giveaway]
  3. the url of your tweet of this giveaway, for an extra entry.
* when you enter a giveaway, I keep your email address only until a winner has been chosen and has confirmed. After that, I delete the form where your answers were stored during the duration of the giveaway. If you win and you email me your mailing address, I delete this email and its information as soon as I have mailed you the book.

***

And visit the Tour to read other reviews of this book,
and for additional chances to win a copy!

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NOVEL ON THE RESISTANCE?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

Advertisements