Monday, 9 September 2013

Trini Amador

Summery courtesy of

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.

My thoughts

Trini Amador writes with flair and passion in this dramatic retelling. This book is set in Paris during World War Two. Gracianna grows up in the Pyrennes mountains and moves to Paris despite her families objections. They are justifiably concerned for her safety as Paris is a city defeated and under Nazi occupation.

Life in Paris is exciting, but also extremely dangerous especially when your young and Beautiful. Gracianna attracts the unwanted attention of a German officer who attacks her, Gracianna shoots him with his own gun. The French Resistance help her dispose of the body and ask her for help them to kill German officers in the hopes of upsetting the Germans occupation of their city.

Juan, has always loved Gracianna and follows her to Paris, where he convinces her to marry him together they help the resistance. Juan is a very subdued character who does everything Gracianna tells him too. ( she even refers to him as her lap dog)   I struggled with the writers depiction of Juan, I don't think his character was fleshed out enough, he didn't really have a voice and I couldn't understand how someone who was so in love with Gracianna could not be more proactive. Although he did redeem himself in the later part of the book, I thought there was something lacking in the plot concerning his role as events played out in the book.
Constance Gracianna’s sister also comes to Paris, where she quickly marries a much older wealthy Frenchman. Constance is hot blooded and determined, and in an argument with her husband she attracts the unwanted attention of Two German officers who shoot her husband and beat her. She is accused of theft and sent to Auschwitz.
Constance's story of survival was compelling and I was actually drawn to her characters voice more than Gracianna's as her story was paced well and historically correct.  I would have liked Gracianna's story to have been more descriptive.

3 Stars

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