Greenleaf Book Group Press
From HFVBT Home Page:
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.
Three Reasons Review:
1.) Reasons you chose this book
I accepted this book for review because I've heard of the Basques and their culture has been on the fringes of a few books I have read in the past. I wanted to learn more. Also, WWII stories always intrigue me and this sounded like an interesting story.
2.) Reasons you liked or disliked this book
Overall I enjoyed the story. Learning how Gracianna grew up and getting a glimpse of the mountain life that the Basques live was interesting. The whole world grew up quickly because of WWII Gracianna included. Amador sprinkles Basque language and proverbs throughout the story which lend atmosphere to the story.
Gracianna was quite determined to get to America and for her the way was paved through Paris. Unfortunately her timing coincided with the German occupation of the city, so a detour of sorts occurred. Gracianna was also involved with the resistance a wee bit, but I will stop there. I don't want to give too much away. Her sister Constance was also given a front seat to the horrors of the war, and her story offered another perspective of these events. Also involved in the fight against the Germans is Gracianna's childhood friend and love Juan, who offers Gracianna unending support in her times of need. Juan was the rock that Gracianna needed.
While I enjoyed the story overall, I did have one issue and it was Gracianna herself. What? I know she is his Grandmother. How can I say that? I don't know, I just felt she was a bit aloof or something. I never connected with Gracianna for some reason. I admired her and was amazed by her strength and inner character, but I felt like she kept her distance. Like she was above me or something. Sorry but this is the best explanation I can give.
3.) Reasons for recommending
I would recommend this book even though I didn't connect with Gracianna, because I feel this story offers a different perspective on WWII. Gracianna's journey to America is unique, and shows what determination and strength of will, will help you do. It's what that generation was made of.
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