Lessons Learned from the end of a marriage: my review


Lessons from the End of A Marriage

 

Lisa Arends

 

 

Deceit, lies and deceptions come easy for some men as they lure their spouse into a false sense of security and then find a way to cut into their self-esteem and chip away at their dignity the same way a sculptor chips away at the marble, clay or granite they are using to create their work of art. But, this is different as each chip or piece of the person is worn away what is left is often a hollow shell with nothing inside but emptiness. When our story opens we meet Lisa who finds out that her husband of 16 years has taken the coward’s way out of their marriage. Rather than face her head on and explain his feelings like a man he does what many other men have done before, sends a short, cryptic text message stating his intentions. Imagine the hurt, the fear and the trauma when Lisa receives this message on her phone and has no real idea as to why or what caused Timothy to leave. Not wanting to deal with this on her own she calls on her father for assistance. Members of her family rally to her side but the hurt, the confusion and the pain has just begun and the uncertainty of where to go and what to do next leaves Lisa with many unsolved issues and unanswered questions. Lessons from the End of A Marriage is not fiction, it is based on the author’s real life experience. Added in is the fact that Timothy sticks one more chip in the sculpture or another piece of her dignity torn apart as he not only texts her but leaves her what most have come to know as a Dear John letter explaining his reasons for not wanting to be with her. On Pages 12-15 she shares not only the letter but also her inner most thoughts and in the next chapter her interpretation and her responses to each of his points should she confront him in person. Next the author relates how they met their life together and then brings us back to the present.

 

But, Lisa is smart and she knows that Timothy might say that he did not take everything from her but when logging into her accounts she learns some startling information. Her finances have been depleted, her world shattered in a cold Dear John letter that is unfeeling and sounds like a typical break up letter that a teen might write when afraid to face the other person.  Throughout the book Lisa reinterprets the letter by adding her own unique and humorous responses which allows the reader to see how much she grows, how she is fighting back and how she finds out more about his past, his lover and what happened causing her to have to file for bankruptcy.

 

A story told by Lisa and narrated in her own voice we hear it all from start to finish as each chapter relates a new lesson that everyone can learn who might endure the same fate as Lisa. Deceit, lies, cowardice, betrayal, cheating and much more as we see a broken Lisa find her way back to being whole.  Reading the emails that Timothy and Amanda wrote really brought to light the lengths that he went to in order to create a whole other life for himself without Lisa. Emails that she forwarded to her mother and then to her divorce attorney alerted her to the fact that he even remarried even though they were not divorced. Lesson Four really explains what happens when he learns the truth and the email she sends him responding to his letter. But, what happens next is right out of a made for TV movie or an episode of a soap opera. Thinking he would get away with it and brought in for questioning Timothy fabricated to not on the police, his lawyer and his new wife that he and Lisa had been divorced for quite a while and he even invented a new husband for her. Added in he claimed to be able to prove that he had a document stating that they were divorced but never ever count Lisa out and her computer and research skills far surpass his deceit and lies.

 

But, the bond that formed between Lisa and Amanda strengthened them both and what Amanda reveals about Timothy and his intentions is more than frightening how about bone chilling. The man was arrested and the picture facing Lisa was not of the man she married but of a cold-hearted criminal. Each chapter is prefaced at the top with the lesson imparted by the author. Lesson Five for example is quite telling: There is no shame in asking for help as we learn more about Timothy, her family and the support she is receiving.

 

Emails to Lisa’s mother, their interactions and those to Amanda reveal two sides of Tim and both that might make you question which is to be believed. Claiming to want to make things right yet repeating his answers the same way yet in different words you begin to wonder whether he can be believed or if he is trying to convince himself that he wants to make things right. Chapter 8 focuses on allowing herself or yourself not to have all of the answers followed by Your worth is not tied to your to do list. But, let’s not forget the reinterpretations of the Dear John letter that pepper the book with humor and Lisa’s insight along with her wit.

 

Lesson 11 is powerful as it is titled: Don’t Let Fear Be your Chauffeur. The timeline begins in March 2010 for this chapter as all of the chapters are discussed within different times and time frames. This chapter focuses on the actual divorce. But, stress takes its toll on Lisa and medications are required to help her cope and to sleep. Hearing the inner most thoughts of Timothy the reader needs to decide what to believe and what is still fabrication. Then the IRS gave her the compensation the courts did not and she finally figured out how to move on with her life. The last few chapters flash back and forth between the present and the past comparing incidents, times and places with Timothy and how if her glasses were not truly clouded at the time or filled with fog or smoke she would she the times and places in another way. Some lessons take time to be learned and others happen with time. Learning to trust is not easy and what Lisa learns along the way and what she shares in the final chapters will renew the hope of many that “Happiness if not a destination; it is a frame of mind.” Read this heartfelt, informative, straightforward account of one woman’s journey from the past to the present. Understand her sorrows, endure her pain, feel her strive and then watch her grow as the roots of a tree and the branches were about to die and wither away into a beautiful Maple Tree standing, tall firm and straight. There are many lessons that everyone can take away from reading this book. To Timothy: where ever you are: Stay there! To Lisa: Life is a journey and yours is just beginning.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer 

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Lessons Learned from the end of a marriage: My review


Lessons from the End of A Marriage

 

Lisa Arends

 

 

Deceit, lies and deceptions come easy for some men as they lure their spouse into a false sense of security and then find a way to cut into their self-esteem and chip away at their dignity the same way a sculptor chips away at the marble, clay or granite they are using to create their work of art. But, this is different as each chip or piece of the person is worn away what is left is often a hollow shell with nothing inside but emptiness. When our story opens we meet Lisa who finds out that her husband of 16 years has taken the coward’s way out of their marriage. Rather than face her head on and explain his feelings like a man he does what many other men have done before, sends a short, cryptic text message stating his intentions. Imagine the hurt, the fear and the trauma when Lisa receives this message on her phone and has no real idea as to why or what caused Timothy to leave. Not wanting to deal with this on her own she calls on her father for assistance. Members of her family rally to her side but the hurt, the confusion and the pain has just begun and the uncertainty of where to go and what to do next leaves Lisa with many unsolved issues and unanswered questions. Lessons from the End of A Marriage is not fiction, it is based on the author’s real life experience. Added in is the fact that Timothy sticks one more chip in the sculpture or another piece of her dignity torn apart as he not only texts her but leaves her what most have come to know as a Dear John letter explaining his reasons for not wanting to be with her. On Pages 12-15 she shares not only the letter but also her inner most thoughts and in the next chapter her interpretation and her responses to each of his points should she confront him in person. Next the author relates how they met their life together and then brings us back to the present.

 

But, Lisa is smart and she knows that Timothy might say that he did not take everything from her but when logging into her accounts she learns some startling information. Her finances have been depleted, her world shattered in a cold Dear John letter that is unfeeling and sounds like a typical break up letter that a teen might write when afraid to face the other person.  Throughout the book Lisa reinterprets the letter by adding her own unique and humorous responses which allows the reader to see how much she grows, how she is fighting back and how she finds out more about his past, his lover and what happened causing her to have to file for bankruptcy.

 

A story told by Lisa and narrated in her own voice we hear it all from start to finish as each chapter relates a new lesson that everyone can learn who might endure the same fate as Lisa. Deceit, lies, cowardice, betrayal, cheating and much more as we see a broken Lisa find her way back to being whole.  Reading the emails that Timothy and Amanda wrote really brought to light the lengths that he went to in order to create a whole other life for himself without Lisa. Emails that she forwarded to her mother and then to her divorce attorney alerted her to the fact that he even remarried even though they were not divorced. Lesson Four really explains what happens when he learns the truth and the email she sends him responding to his letter. But, what happens next is right out of a made for TV movie or an episode of a soap opera. Thinking he would get away with it and brought in for questioning Timothy fabricated to not on the police, his lawyer and his new wife that he and Lisa had been divorced for quite a while and he even invented a new husband for her. Added in he claimed to be able to prove that he had a document stating that they were divorced but never ever count Lisa out and her computer and research skills far surpass his deceit and lies.

 

But, the bond that formed between Lisa and Amanda strengthened them both and what Amanda reveals about Timothy and his intentions is more than frightening how about bone chilling. The man was arrested and the picture facing Lisa was not of the man she married but of a cold-hearted criminal. Each chapter is prefaced at the top with the lesson imparted by the author. Lesson Five for example is quite telling: There is no shame in asking for help as we learn more about Timothy, her family and the support she is receiving.

 

Emails to Lisa’s mother, their interactions and those to Amanda reveal two sides of Tim and both that might make you question which is to be believed. Claiming to want to make things right yet repeating his answers the same way yet in different words you begin to wonder whether he can be believed or if he is trying to convince himself that he wants to make things right. Chapter 8 focuses on allowing herself or yourself not to have all of the answers followed by Your worth is not tied to your to do list. But, let’s not forget the reinterpretations of the Dear John letter that pepper the book with humor and Lisa’s insight along with her wit.

 

Lesson 11 is powerful as it is titled: Don’t Let Fear Be your Chauffeur. The timeline begins in March 2010 for this chapter as all of the chapters are discussed within different times and time frames. This chapter focuses on the actual divorce. But, stress takes its toll on Lisa and medications are required to help her cope and to sleep. Hearing the inner most thoughts of Timothy the reader needs to decide what to believe and what is still fabrication. Then the IRS gave her the compensation the courts did not and she finally figured out how to move on with her life. The last few chapters flash back and forth between the present and the past comparing incidents, times and places with Timothy and how if her glasses were not truly clouded at the time or filled with fog or smoke she would she the times and places in another way. Some lessons take time to be learned and others happen with time. Learning to trust is not easy and what Lisa learns along the way and what she shares in the final chapters will renew the hope of many that “Happiness if not a destination; it is a frame of mind.” Read this heartfelt, informative, straightforward account of one woman’s journey from the past to the present. Understand her sorrows, endure her pain, feel her strive and then watch her grow as the roots of a tree and the branches were about to die and wither away into a beautiful Maple Tree standing, tall firm and straight. There are many lessons that everyone can take away from reading this book. To Timothy: where ever you are: Stay there! To Lisa: Life is a journey and yours is just beginning.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer 

I THINK I FLUSHED MY BROTHER DOWN THE TOILET AGAIN: MY REVIEW


Um….Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet again!

Jeff Rivera

 

Poor Jesse can’t catch a break. Never really wanting to purposely irritate his sister Falisha he manages to always wind up annoying her by saying one simple word: FASEESHA! Now, you might say what is so bad about that and why does Falisha get so angry?  I guess you have to be Falisha to answer that question. But, first let’s find out why her mother is so angry and ready to scream. Too late! When her mother relates that the toilet is not working again you would think she would know the reason. Falisha Whiskers thinks she is so clever and by batting her eyelashes and smiling she might get away with you guessed it: once again flushing poor Jesse down the stinky toilet bowl to the land of YUCK and MUCK one more time. But, this time she might not be so lucky because mom is going to tell her daddy and boy she just better watch out.

 

Thinking she could talk her out of it she manages to convince her mother to allow her to go down there one more time to rescue poor Jesse but this time conserve on the toilet paper. So, everyone put on your rain gear, raincoat, get your boots on and maybe take a rain hat to prevent the muck from going on your head and let’s see what’s so exciting about the Kingdom of Yuck by going down there with Falisha to find Jesse. The water flushed, slushed and mushed all over all of Falisha and us as we landed in the place riddled with smells and yuck. As we hear Falisha scream in her best hoping to find Jesse voice: JESSE!

 

Looking around she realized that this place should definitely be on the What Needs To Be Decorated List. Filled with dirt, grit and tons of dust she managed to climb the hills made of smelly jelly fellies in search of Jesse. Voices rang back at her but remember the residents of the place are rude and not too friendly. Would you be if you lived there? Meet the nasty grasshopper and find out what happens when she lets him have it. Imagine meeting a bug names Urpie Burpie you can figure out of cause Burpie Urpies. But, this poor guy has not been to a dentist and his teeth really need some help and you know Falisha she does not mince her words or hide her thoughts.

 

Now, truth be told Urpie Burpie is really not so bad he’s just mad at the Toilet Paper King! He’s the most in his words, “evil King in all of Yuck Kingdom.” Even more terrible is the fact that the smells are going to get worse and he captured all of his friends. Do you think that Falisha can save them and find Jesse at the same time? This is a really big mission for one seven-year-old girl! But, then we find out something really nice. Our friend is a friend of Jesse and he tells Falisha that her brother really cares about her and says great things about her too. Even poor Urbie can’t pronounce her name right! Poor Jesse is a prisoner of the Toilet Paper King too! So, what is she going to do? Let’s go everyone if you want to find out what happens. We are about to meet the Slumpies and then we are all invited to Urbie’s home filled with tons of bugs that look like him and all who gave her sloppy hugs. Now, our Falisha is smart and will take on this challenge, as she is about to confront this huge King.

 

Visualize these dear readers a house made of rusty, dusty and musty pipes and a smell that would take tons of Lysol and hundreds if not thousands of cans of air freshener to get rid of the smells. When you see the picture of the Toilet Paper King or meet him in person he is really scary sitting on his throne and made of wet toilet paper.

 

Can Falisha stand up to this man? Would she really send her father down there to get Jesse back? You won’t believe what happens and just how brave she is? But, he is huge and wait and see what happens next! Why wouldn’t the Slumpies help her? What happened when they all started to cry? What happens and if the save Jesse and those captured by the Toilet Bowl King you won’t get that from me or anyone else that flushed themselves down there. You are going to have to read this for yourself to find out. So, get your rain gear, umbrella, rain hat, boots and raincoat and let’s not forget your plunger and take the journey down the toilet bowl to find out just what happens. This story teaches, friendship, love, loyalty, bravery, kindness and understanding that can be used as a basis for character education lessons by educators and in Sunday school groups. Librarians might find this as a great story for story time. The pictures are colorful and help bring the story to life for young readers and non-readers too. So, what’s taking you so long. Grab a copy on Amazon and start reading, flushing and of course laughing. Will Jesse ever learn not to mispronounce his sister’s name? Will she ever stop flushing him down the toilet and find somewhere else to explore? Only author and writer Jeff Rivera has the answer!

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN FLUSHES

GABRIELA AND THE WIDOW: FIVE STARS


Gabriela and the Widow

Author: Jack Remick

 

Take a stack of papers or note cards and throw them up it the air and let them fall to the ground. As they gently fall to the surface of the ground, each card or paper a different color and filled in with various colored pens the stories held within the small folds of each paper or line of each card relates a portion of someone’s life that they will never forget. Creating order out of chaos. Creating the events of your life by recording them on slips of paper, cards and then placing important facts on each one yet in no particular sequence or order. Gabriela lost everything when her mother died. No one to care for her, help or guide her in any direction or show her the right path to follow. Life journey brings each one of us joy, sorrow, love and many struggles. Gabriela was alone and as she hoped for someone to show her the way all she receives were stake, and instructions as to where and how to bury her mother. Gabriela needed to decide her own way and where life would take her but instead she becomes lost in her thoughts and finally winds up in the service of a woman we shall call La Patrona. To survive she had to do endure the pain, the shame and the unkindness of many. Living in a village without anyone to protect her, she had some type of status as a servant to this woman called La Patrona. Nothing more than a maid that had to clean up after her and more, Gabriela remained until she could no longer deal with what she had in store for her. Listening to the conversation between this grotesque woman and another she realizes she was nothing more than property about to be sold. But, Gabriela is young and naïve and does not realize that she may leave one horrible situation only to find herself in another. Going to Oaxaca she loves the lights, cars, buses and the scenery but does she love what she is asked to do? Working for Nando and expecting to have his sons, she finds herself selling articles made of toads, bags that carry an awful smell and toad purses that cause her to get sick. It is here that she meets a woman named Mignonne and her companion who comment about her illness and hope that she is not contagious. Gabriela only wanted to look above her station and she prided herself in wanting something special for herself. Going to the shoe vendor she vied for Nikes to replace her sandals. Hoping that she would be able to finally afford running shoes she ecstatic when about the purchase. When her owner sees what she has bought his reaction is violent, abusive and she winds up beaten on the street. But, with the help of the shoe vendor she finds her way to another place hoping she will find acceptance and maybe even love.

 

Livia is the niece of the shoe salesman that befriends her but she remains in this position to clean rooms for a short time. Entering a room she finds two women asleep and one that requires she remains. Explaining what she has in mind and why she should come work for her once again Gabriela needs to make a choice. Liah and Mignonne were the two who saw her get sick from the toad purses and the two women who took her under their wing and wanted her to live and work for them. But, things were not what they seem and the author and narrator allows the reader to know that they had another purpose in mind for Gabriela. Once again she was asked to leave but this time for a different reason as Liah wanted her to care for her 92-year-old mother and this is where our story takes a different turn and really begins. People bond in many different ways as Gabriela meets La Viuda a feisty older woman with a definite mission in life to create a timeline of the events of her life in a list. But, just how she does is will amaze the reader as she creates cards, pieces of paper and writes down certain facts, dates, adding specific photos, one specific event, place, object and letter within the paper. Each day the routine is almost the same and the chores created within the framework that the older woman set up. No variations just following the rules and adhering to the schedule. Yet, Gabriela, although not well versed in English, understands Spanish and sees the chaos in what she has been asked to do, realizes early on that this older woman is someone that is unique, special and even in her own way properly the best possible person to help her find her path in life.

 

Caring for her, creating her meager meals and listening to her, you hear the many sides of La Viuda, the suffering, the pain and the reminder that she is old and the secrets that she unfolds as she feels a closeness to this young girl who many think is unfeminine. Relating to her the life she came from, the war that in the jungle and the loss of those she cared for you can see the changes within her as this older woman takes the role of mother to her and she her daughter. But, there is much more before all is said and done as Gabriella tries to make sense of the cards and papers to help create what La Viuda wants The List.

 

La Viuda, The Widow lives within a world that she created for herself filled with jewels, coins, old pictures and a sable coat. As we get to know her upfront and personal we learn that her major goal before leaving this earth is to record and relate her memories and life on paper, which is why Gabriela’s help was enlisted. Nineteen-years of age, from Mexico or Mixteca, Gabriela is stronger than her years and a survivor. How would a 19 year old today have lived through a massacre and dangerous journey to El Norte? One young immigrant whose life would take on a different meaning as she meets this older woman living in the desert from a different era and culture. How can this young naïve girl understand herself, being a woman and yet live with men. As we read Chapter 19 and Gabriela stacks more cards and later enters more on the List, we learn about the flowers, their meanings and why she draws them. Love is hard to define as the Widow explains the precious items she received from someone dear to her and their meanings. Explaining the coins, the blue flower and the hateful pieces of coins she shares a card and explains that what needs to be added should wait until the story is told. A small red box filled with treasures or jewels as La Viuda relates the feelings of the heart, coupling with a man and the meanings of the stones in relation to each special moment she endured. Sealed her fate. A blood stone that would forever decide her destiny but Gabriela does not really understand as she states that choices her made yet she is told they were not. She reads the List and it contains only what this woman can recall. How can she have been chosen and what about those that came before her? Why was she THE ONE?  The meaning of the blood stone and their bond fully described and explained on page 85 as the red ring was now hers. The story added in detail to the list titled El Senor.

 

Gabriella and La Viuda become one and the same as Gabriella begins to relive the experiences of the older woman in both her visions and her dreams. The power of the jewels that are shown to her and the mere touch or feel of one necklace holds secrets that are revealed when Gabriela is instructed to put them on. The coins and what lies beneath the metal covering or veneer takes them both back in time and in history relating past loves, events and struggles that brought them to a specific point in the present. Blending both history and research about ancient Greece, other cultures and time periods author Jack Remick tests the ands of time, the strength of two women isolated in the desert creating a legacy so precious and so fragile but eternal.

 

Faces in the mirror might deceit us all, as the distortions are many and the exaggerations great when viewing and image from different angles. Life is a deception, we all endure pain, degradation at times but the unbreakable bond between these two women will endure. Two women caught up in their own final journeys in different ways in order to find a new path in life.

 

An ending that is so powerful, a young girl whose revenge on those who took her innocence emerging in a more powerful light with an inner strength that no one can take away. A widow whose boundless energy spans decades and many life times and whose final words, her List is her legacy and will remain forever.

 

Walking down that same road where will life take Gabriela next and what will happen to those who felled her in the past? A story about survival, hope, trust, love and a bound stronger and more valuable than all the treasures that money can buy. What is next for Gabriela only she can decide and where will life take her? Gabriela/La Viuda: one in the same forever?

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer  

Gabriela and the Widow: FIVE STAR REVIEW


Gabriela and the Widow

Author: Jack Remick

 

Take a stack of papers or note cards and throw them up it the air and let them fall to the ground. As they gently fall to the surface of the ground, each card or paper a different color and filled in with various colored pens the stories held within the small folds of each paper or line of each card relates a portion of someone’s life that they will never forget. Creating order out of chaos. Creating the events of your life by recording them on slips of paper, cards and then placing important facts on each one yet in no particular sequence or order. Gabriela lost everything when her mother died. No one to care for her, help or guide her in any direction or show her the right path to follow. Life journey brings each one of us joy, sorrow, love and many struggles. Gabriela was alone and as she hoped for someone to show her the way all she receives were stake, and instructions as to where and how to bury her mother. Gabriela needed to decide her own way and where life would take her but instead she becomes lost in her thoughts and finally winds up in the service of a woman we shall call La Patrona. To survive she had to do endure the pain, the shame and the unkindness of many. Living in a village without anyone to protect her, she had some type of status as a servant to this woman called La Patrona. Nothing more than a maid that had to clean up after her and more, Gabriela remained until she could no longer deal with what she had in store for her. Listening to the conversation between this grotesque woman and another she realizes she was nothing more than property about to be sold. But, Gabriela is young and naïve and does not realize that she may leave one horrible situation only to find herself in another. Going to Oaxaca she loves the lights, cars, buses and the scenery but does she love what she is asked to do? Working for Nando and expecting to have his sons, she finds herself selling articles made of toads, bags that carry an awful smell and toad purses that cause her to get sick. It is here that she meets a woman named Mignonne and her companion who comment about her illness and hope that she is not contagious. Gabriela only wanted to look above her station and she prided herself in wanting something special for herself. Going to the shoe vendor she vied for Nikes to replace her sandals. Hoping that she would be able to finally afford running shoes she ecstatic when about the purchase. When her owner sees what she has bought his reaction is violent, abusive and she winds up beaten on the street. But, with the help of the shoe vendor she finds her way to another place hoping she will find acceptance and maybe even love.

 

Livia is the niece of the shoe salesman that befriends her but she remains in this position to clean rooms for a short time. Entering a room she finds two women asleep and one that requires she remains. Explaining what she has in mind and why she should come work for her once again Gabriela needs to make a choice. Liah and Mignonne were the two who saw her get sick from the toad purses and the two women who took her under their wing and wanted her to live and work for them. But, things were not what they seem and the author and narrator allows the reader to know that they had another purpose in mind for Gabriela. Once again she was asked to leave but this time for a different reason as Liah wanted her to care for her 92-year-old mother and this is where our story takes a different turn and really begins. People bond in many different ways as Gabriela meets La Viuda a feisty older woman with a definite mission in life to create a timeline of the events of her life in a list. But, just how she does is will amaze the reader as she creates cards, pieces of paper and writes down certain facts, dates, adding specific photos, one specific event, place, object and letter within the paper. Each day the routine is almost the same and the chores created within the framework that the older woman set up. No variations just following the rules and adhering to the schedule. Yet, Gabriela, although not well versed in English, understands Spanish and sees the chaos in what she has been asked to do, realizes early on that this older woman is someone that is unique, special and even in her own way properly the best possible person to help her find her path in life.

 

Caring for her, creating her meager meals and listening to her, you hear the many sides of La Viuda, the suffering, the pain and the reminder that she is old and the secrets that she unfolds as she feels a closeness to this young girl who many think is unfeminine. Relating to her the life she came from, the war that in the jungle and the loss of those she cared for you can see the changes within her as this older woman takes the role of mother to her and she her daughter. But, there is much more before all is said and done as Gabriella tries to make sense of the cards and papers to help create what La Viuda wants The List.

 

La Viuda, The Widow lives within a world that she created for herself filled with jewels, coins, old pictures and a sable coat. As we get to know her upfront and personal we learn that her major goal before leaving this earth is to record and relate her memories and life on paper, which is why Gabriela’s help was enlisted. Nineteen-years of age, from Mexico or Mixteca, Gabriela is stronger than her years and a survivor. How would a 19 year old today have lived through a massacre and dangerous journey to El Norte? One young immigrant whose life would take on a different meaning as she meets this older woman living in the desert from a different era and culture. How can this young naïve girl understand herself, being a woman and yet live with men. As we read Chapter 19 and Gabriela stacks more cards and later enters more on the List, we learn about the flowers, their meanings and why she draws them. Love is hard to define as the Widow explains the precious items she received from someone dear to her and their meanings. Explaining the coins, the blue flower and the hateful pieces of coins she shares a card and explains that what needs to be added should wait until the story is told. A small red box filled with treasures or jewels as La Viuda relates the feelings of the heart, coupling with a man and the meanings of the stones in relation to each special moment she endured. Sealed her fate. A blood stone that would forever decide her destiny but Gabriela does not really understand as she states that choices her made yet she is told they were not. She reads the List and it contains only what this woman can recall. How can she have been chosen and what about those that came before her? Why was she THE ONE?  The meaning of the blood stone and their bond fully described and explained on page 85 as the red ring was now hers. The story added in detail to the list titled El Senor.

 

Gabriella and La Viuda become one and the same as Gabriella begins to relive the experiences of the older woman in both her visions and her dreams. The power of the jewels that are shown to her and the mere touch or feel of one necklace holds secrets that are revealed when Gabriela is instructed to put them on. The coins and what lies beneath the metal covering or veneer takes them both back in time and in history relating past loves, events and struggles that brought them to a specific point in the present. Blending both history and research about ancient Greece, other cultures and time periods author Jack Remick tests the ands of time, the strength of two women isolated in the desert creating a legacy so precious and so fragile but eternal.

 

Faces in the mirror might deceit us all, as the distortions are many and the exaggerations great when viewing and image from different angles. Life is a deception, we all endure pain, degradation at times but the unbreakable bond between these two women will endure. Two women caught up in their own final journeys in different ways in order to find a new path in life.

 

An ending that is so powerful, a young girl whose revenge on those who took her innocence emerging in a more powerful light with an inner strength that no one can take away. A widow whose boundless energy spans decades and many life times and whose final words, her List is her legacy and will remain forever.

 

Walking down that same road where will life take Gabriela next and what will happen to those who felled her in the past? A story about survival, hope, trust, love and a bound stronger and more valuable than all the treasures that money can buy. What is next for Gabriela only she can decide and where will life take her? Gabriela/La Viuda: one in the same forever?

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer