THE PEOPLE IN BETWEEN


The People In Between: Gregory S. Lamb

 

As the story opens you hear the voice of one young girl as she hopes to find her young sister. Running through the streets dodging the exploding bombs and the sounds of automatic rifles that filled the air, Hanife Yilmaz hopes to find her mother, father and younger sister before it was too late. Looking for her mother,  she went in search of finding her  but when the harsh reality set in what she found caused her to cry in horror, freeze in place and realize what she has lost forever. That was March 1964 as the author brings us to 2001 where we meet the two children born to this brave young woman who lost her battle in life during childbirth.

 

Kiraz Nora Johensson and her twin brother Nils never knew their mother because she died after giving birth to them. As Nora receives a call from her brother after so much time has passed between them she reunites with him to assist a friend in his gallery and hopefully reconnect with her brother. Hearing their banter, discussion and their short but brief conversation about their past, present and hopes for their futures Nora agrees to the post in the gallery that her brother brokered for her. Cyprus is the setting of this story and the author’s description makes the reader want to visit this enchanting place. The landscape, the history and the picturesque descriptions of so many places allows the reader to feel apart of the journey. Nora accepts the position to care for the gallery and meets Aydin Kostas a Cypriot. The author allows the reader to learn more about Nora’s father a Lieutenant Colonel, USAF who was on a fast track to become a General But, circumstances changed, his plane was shot down, his crewmate captured by the North Vietnamese and he spent the next two weeks evading capture. Fortunately for him he connected with a Special Operations Group and after Vietnam he was among the first U-2 pilots to arrive on Cyprus. But, her brother made some comments about their father and although he visits him in the home where he lives the answer to his comment, “What he didn’t do,” still remains to be revealed.

 

The history of this country is quite compelling as internal conflicts created fighting between two communities on this island causing the United Nations to have to send in peacekeeping forces in 1964 flashing back to where our story begins and why the young girl in the prologue lost her family and why. These forces are still in Cyprus today. Ten years later Greek Cypriots enacted a military coup with the help of military junta in Greece. However, Turkey used this coup to invade the northern part of the island where the Turkish forces stayed until after the cease-fire. The end result was in the partition of this Island. As a result the violence between these communities and the Turkish invasion that followed caused the unfortunate displacement of hundreds of thousands of people living in Cyprus. In 1975 the state of Northern Cyprus now became The Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus. The name was changed to its present one on November 15, 1983. The only country that recognized The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is Turkey. Many Turkish settlers were given permission to live there illegally. Some chose to live and were given permission to live on Greek Cypriot land and property to slant the island’s population or demographics in favor of the Turkish Cypriots. In 2002 the UN Secretary General started new negotiations in order to unify the island and in 2004 both sides agreed on a plan for the island to be unified. Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004. Our story continues three years prior to this event in 2001 where Nora and her brother reconnect and begin to visit the many places her mother frequented when she met their father three decades before.

 

As Nora becomes more assimilated in the life of those living on this beautiful island she learns more about the tragic history, coup, the deaths and the dividing line or Green line that separates and divides the island. A line that marks where the clock stopped in 1974 and a line that divides this beautiful Island of Cyprus. The line stretches from 112 miles from east to west across the island where Greek-Cypriots people have not been allowed to pass or cross. There are some who come there to look to the other side hoping that someday the barbed wires will be lifted and removed so that what is left is not The People that Live In Between. Imagine what would happen if these people as Nora learns more about the island, the history of the family she visited, her brother’s hopes for his future would some day hear the words: You are free to go home to where you were born!

 

Nora’s time in Cyprus is about to end as her new friendship with a young man named Aydin has begun to bloom. But, there are some secrets not attributed to the island that many do not want revealed and if they were would change the course of many of the events that follow.  Added in the knowledge of the human trafficking that is prevalent on one side of the island and the huge houses that are quite elaborate built by the Russians on the other trying to show the world what they have built. Nora and Nils listen to their father’s account about their mother, meeting her and take a final trip with him as he returns to America and passes away. Finding her way back to Aydin but not before commanding a position as the Press and Cultural Attaché to Cyprus, Nora finally make the decision her father knew she would to marry this amazing young man. But, Nils has many things in his past that he finally admits as he and Yosette, his wife begin their journey together once again. More dissention, more strife a referendum up to finally unite the people of Cyprus and what happens next allows the reader to know that not everything will change. Hoping to find her aunt the young child that disappeared at the start of the book, with the help of someone they meet in Cyprus will Nora get the answers she hopes to find about her family?

 

As Nora and Aydin’s time in Cyprus comes to an end, a new chapter in lives begins. Things are not always what they seem, the times still volatile and the search for answers yet to come. As you learn the final request of one man and you find out the hidden truths about another will these revelations tear them apart or bring them closer? When the final chapter is written and the author’s name revealed someone should definitely put this novel on the NYTIMES bestseller list. The history, the scenery vividly described, the story of an island, the people struggling to unite and the final outcome for some many call THE PEOPLE IN BETWEEN. Author Gregory S. Lamb reminds us of this beautiful and amazing place called Cyprus and will tempt the reader and tantalize you with the many descriptions of the places visited by each character and the hope that someday the Green Line will be lifted. Here’s to Freedom.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Η ελπίδα για την Ελευθερία or Özgürlük için umut

Bu kitap Yunan kahve beş altın kupa gets

Advertisement

Outstanding Authors and their sites


Header: Fran Lewis: Author, Educator, Talk Show Host, Interviewer and Five Star Indie Book Reviewer

Website: www.gabina49@wordpress.com

Category: Non-Fiction, Horror and Children’s Books

Blurb: Fran Lewis is an author, book reviewer, talk show host and reading and writing staff developer. The author of ten published titles. Fran has published five children’s books, two horror and three non-fiction. She is currently working on the third book in her Faces Behind the Stones Series and A Fourth in her Bertha and Tillie Series.

 

 

 

Header:           Linda Hales, Independent Author

Website:         http://www.linnieslittlebooks.com

Category:         Childrens Books

Blurb:         Linda Hales is a writer, committed to publishing storybooks with a moral for children up to the age of 7.  She currently has two                  books on her roster, one for each of two new series, ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Andy-Roo’.  In 2013, Linda plans to release two more titles and                  a coordinated series of matching coloring books.

 

 

Header: Clayton Bye, Independent Author

Website: http://www.claytonbye.com

Blurb:

Clayton Bye is a writer, editor and publisher. The author of 9 books and a varied collection of short stories, poems, articles and hundreds of reviews, he is in the process of releasing his second anthology of short stories by talented authors from around the world.

 

 

Trish Jackson, Author of Extraordinary Romantic Suspense http://www.trishjackson.com 

Header: Delinda L. McCann. Author

Website:  http://delindalmccann.weebly.com

Category: Social Issues, Romance

Blurb:  Delinda is a social psychologist and author. Her first career focussed on special needs populations.  She is now using her many years of experience to write novels touching on the human condition. While writing about tough subjects Delinda sees the humor in life and tries to give her stories an element of light.  Currently she has three books available “Lies That Bind”, “M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire” and “M’TK Sewer Rat: Birth of a Nation.”  Her novel “Something About Maudy” is due out in the spring of 2013 with “Taking Gramma Home” to follow in the early summer.

I’ll put any amount of links on mine.

 

Header:           Dan O’Brien. Novelist. Editor. Consultant. 

Website:         http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/

Category:         Science Fiction. Fantasy. Horror. Non-fiction.

Blurb:         A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist,Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Portent, The Path of the Fallen, Book of Seth, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog athttp://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He also works as an editor at Empirical, a national magazine with a strong West Coast vibe. Find out more about the magazine atwww.empiricalmagazine.com.

 

Masha allah: my review


masha’ Allah: Mariah K. Young

 

The circle of life is not the same for everyone. The trip each one of us takes will not be filled with smooth roads, silver linings or streets paved with gold. Everyone will endure pain, sorrow, tragedy and many obstacles along the way before taking that final bow or curtain. Masha’ Allah is a compilation of stories that are told from the point of view of nine different narrators. Some told in the first person, others in the third but all from the unique perspective of the main character whose struggle to live and survive we hear first hand.

 

Mr. Felix is about to be laid to rest on a Saturday morning. The setting is a street that usually has lots of noise, people milling around, kids playing and hustlers trying to get a piece of the action as the limo is being driven to place this man in the ground. Just who is Mr. Felix? The streets have been cleared, the path for the limo unblocked and the voice of a child is heard as he allows the reader to follow the car, learn about the people in the community and hear their voices as each one expresses their thoughts about this man. Mr. Felix is gone. The streets are quiet and the people are paying their respects so to speak to this unscrupulous man. Why? You decide after reading it and find out why one young boy stood close to his mother watching it all happen. Next, one-man just wants to have somewhere to call his own. Day laborers ad not uncommon. Many of us see them on street corners waiting for someone to pick them up in a truck to make a day’s pay. Some live in apartments sleeping on cots, or beds lined up throughout the many rooms or one room. Others share beds with strangers hoping to get some sleep or a moment of comfort. One Space is the next story told in the voice of one of the day laborers as he and a man named Felipe and others hope to just make some money, eat, find their way back to where they live and earn enough to send money back home to their families. The narrator of this story has many identities and names as he relates. His goal is to send money home for his wife. Finding work he is excited but more when he thinks he will able to use his phone card to call home and speak with her. Picturing her in many different places, doing many things his hopes fade each time he tries to use the phone and gets nowhere. Working all day and hoping for some respite he is frustrated when he cannot connect with his wife. Going to a bar with some of the men is not uncommon but what happens on the way home to where he lives will leave you wondering just what happened to one man and if this day laborer finally gets One Space to call his own.

 

The title story of the book is masha’allah and it is told from the viewpoint of a man named Sully who drives a limo. His job requires that he pick up one man daily making sure that the ride is perfect, Mr. Edward is happy and the Lincoln is smoke free in odor. Mr. Ferdinand is another client that he picks up and dislikes any type of odors in the limo and our main character makes sure the limo is spotless. But, when he has some extra time and feels he can use the money and another fare our ambitious driver picks up a women and what he gets is a whole lot more than any driver would expect or want. Throughout the story we learn about his niece who comes to dinner, her boyfriend, his feelings and his friends. Trying to make something extra for his friend Suzy, he picks up with this woman and what happens will definitely make all limo drivers think twice before picking up a fare. The end result is quite startling, the final ride in his imagination as the driver drops off the fare at an unlikely place and for an unlikely reason, and then he thinks about his niece Cherise, when she moved in and predicting what he thinks might happen next. Masha’allah means it’s Gods Will as his niece relates to him. Is it God’s will that he struggles? Is it God’s will that he picked up this fare? Is it God’s will that he remain a limo driver? You decide after reading this compelling story. There are so many stories to spotlight for example the one titled The Front of the House which in this case is told from the point of view of young girl working in a restaurant hoping that the man she cares about will not marry another girl. A wedding party that is planned and the end result turns ugly as the waitress taunts the bride, pockets her tip, upsets the other workers and the end result two lost souls wanting more and one young woman whose promises of the future went up in an illusion that was created for her. Each immigrant struggle with inner conflicts, thoughts and hoping to someday become part of our American culture and a citizen of the United States. Let’s remember our first story once again as a young boy named Dylan whose mom watches him carefully as the horse-drawn carriage carries the body of the man named Mr. Felix to his final resting place. A man who died in prison and whose legacy will live on in a unique way. Living where he does will this child have a chance at life. What about Sully and his niece? What will become of them? Will see she her true calling as a lover of languages and translator? What about the two people left in the restaurant after the wedding? What will the light of the final match show? Let’s not forget the man who worked in Home Depot and was sending money home along with his friend Felipe. Just what is their fate as one sells drugs and the rest wait for work? The next story is about a young boy named Eddie who lives his life using different names and identities. Told in his own words as he enters third grade, the life and what reason behind his deceptions, he has many personas, to many people he is many different things. To one he is Mr. Villanu, on the street everyone calls him Eddie but to others he is Suspect. College and DMV knew him as something else and his paperwork and pictures reflected his many names. No one really knows who or what he really is. No one really suspects him. He hopes!

 

The next story is titles Raposas followed by Studies in Entropic Botany, which allows on young girl to practice what she has learned about botany and incorporate it into the world of drugs. What about the housekeeper who decides to be enterprising and sets up a salon in her homes of those she cleans? Chinta is quite smart using different houses, many clients and help from friends and her sister Christy. The story is quite interesting, humorous and the end result you just won’t believe. Does she get caught? What about her last customer? What happens you have to read for yourself? Will our enterprising hairdresser continue on or will she settle for cleaning houses? Each story heartfelt, sad in some respects, ironic in others while compelling and thought provoking. Author Mariah K. Young takes the reader inside the minds of nine hard working people just trying to their way around the own circle of life and come out with a smooth rim. I wonder what is in store for each of these characters if the stories were to continue. Well -written, interesting, fast paced and definitely each unique, different and yet the same: The Circle of Life: Which path do you think was the smoothest or are they all the same? Read these stories and you decide.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

THE SIN OF CERTAINTY: B. Y. ROGERS


The Sin of Certainty: B.Y Rogers

 

Some kids like to try new things and one of them is smoking. Thinking they look cool, hot and will prove they are more than just young punks, Danny and Paul venture into an old barn to light up. Not really caring about their surroundings or even wondering what the final consequences might be they lit up, flicked the ashes and the end result would be more than just tragic. Feeling the intensity of the smoke lashing up at them Danny and Paul lit up more than the Kools.

Doyle Max owned the barn where the two boys were smoking and never heard or saw them enter nor was he guilty of setting the fire. However, Doyle Max had a reputation that preceded him and many thought that he had sexually molested and abused both boys for quite some time and then killing these two young white kids would hide the truth and keep him from the hang man’s noose. But, this is the South the year is 1947 and the Civil Rights Movement had not taken shape and forming lynch mobs seemed not uncommon and the man was found guilty, charged and arrested before the final ember of the fire was put out. As one mother phones in the fire another goes out in search of Doyle hoping that he is not found as part of the charred embers in the barn. But, instead when the fire department, just about the whole entire town, the gossipers, the man who runs the diner, the feed store and more show up along with the Mayor what they find will destroy two families and ignite more than the flames in the raging fire. A town that decided the man was guilty even before he could be proven innocent. A town that hates “colored people,” and considers them ignore and not worth the air they breathe. As the fire is extinguished, the police arrive and the investigation begins one woman searches for clues to find out the truth. Rose Henn refuses to believe that Doyle is guilty and as a reporter will leave no stone unturned, no rock uncovered to find out what caused the fire and why these two young boys died. Added in we have Paul, whose father Charley is mean, unruly and hateful who will do anything to make sure Doyle pays claiming that he knew about his abuse towards his son. Ted who is devastated along with his wife Nancy, Danny’s parents and a Mayor who just wants to the man he thinks is responsible to pay. As Rose tries to speak with Charley and express her sorrow the conversation gets more than heated and we know her efforts are futile.

 

Next, we meet Frank, Rose’s father who supports her thoughts, and understands the prejudice that riddles the people in this town. The medical report not in and the conclusions not found yet they arrested Doyle on the pretense of keeping him safe from harm and because they think he did it. The beginning of the book begins in 1925 with an incident involving Charley that sets the stage for the chain of events 22 years later.

 

As Rose is learning from the Doc that she has an ear infection he aptly convinces her to tell him what seems to be on her mind and why she thinks that Doyle might be innocent. But, Rose would not let it be and when it is revealed that Doyle’s grandfather is in nursing home she proceeds to visit him and what he reveals explains what happened to him in the army and the prejudice within in troop and the help he received. One incident would ring out in Doyle’s mind and the honest truth behind his plight would bring Rose into action and hopefully prove his innocence. The description of what happened to him in the army is not unheard of and the aid that he received from his Lieutenant quite compelling. The cruelty of the men who bullied him and the one man who said they went to far still haunts Doyle and his grandfather too. Why would anyone believe him? They mistrusted him back then why would anyone stand up for him now?

 

A town so filled with hate, prejudice and the secrets that lie beneath the ground that are buried down deep as you hear the voices of two men discuss the past and the evidence that would change things for both of them. Added in we learn more about Charley, his actions and his behaviors that make you wonder about the kind of parent he was and much more. Not finding any evidence of abuse on Paul after an incident where he was injured, Doc intimates that there is more to this than meets the eye but reveals nothing.

 

Rose revisits the small town, goes into the diner and the conversation over coffee with the Mayor, his son a others alerts the reader that she might need to be careful and the warning given to her heeded. Yet the Mayor believes his own words, tries to convince her of Doyle’s guilt, relates a story about a fire that he supposedly set which confirms in Rose’s mind that there is much more to learn before the her paper goes to press and the final pages are printed when the truth just might be revealed. One woman who is fighting against a whole town and one story that goes back 22 years. Just how does this all link together?

 

But, a town meeting turns heated and ugly as the Mayor squares off with Rose and words fly and the accusations sail across the crowded and heated room. The Mayor’s son, a Judge tries to deal with crowd and the Reverend Fox sees the faces and hears the cries of the women as each one tries to visualize what might have happened to their sons or daughters as a result of what is being implied. Added in we learn the truth about what happened to Dorsie, Doyle’ mother and many questions regarding one night would forever haunt many. What did this woman do to deserve what was done to her? What does Doc Walters know that he cannot divulge? But, Rose is persistent, relentless and with the guidance of her father she begins to see where the missing pieces need to be filled in and the reader gets an inside look at a town too blind to see what is right in front of them and people so narrow minded and hateful that one incident that took place 22 years ago would come back and haunt the entire town. Just who will remain standing at the end and who will face the hangman’s rope?

 

When Rose decides to pry even further the evidence she is looking for seems to have disappeared. But, the Mayor seems to hold all the cards and the end result you just won’t expect of believe. When Doyle is secretly released from jail someone follows the trail to his home and what is revealed and happens will shake the innermost core of the people of this town. Just who survives and what really happened that night in 1925? What happens when one man tells his story to Rose and what happens that will destroy more live? The Sin of Certainty: Just how sure is anyone that a crime has been committed? Just why did everyone in this town think that Doyle was guilty? Sin: an offense against religious or moral law as defined by Webster’s Dictionary. Each member of this town was hard pressed to hide the truth about an incident that tore about lives of two people on in 1925. Coming back to haunt them 22 years later the truth would not set anyone free but would forever shatter the lives of many. What is the final judgment and who will pay for his sins? Who will live with the guilt? One father will stop at nothing to find out the truth and one reporter will sacrifice it all in order to negate the towns desire to accuse Doyle Max of what they think is: The Certainty of Sin. Author B.Y. Rogers takes us inside the minds of the people of this small Southern town who have insulated themselves within the confines of their community hoping to keep their deep dark secrets buried along with the dead. Matches: Don’t get too close to the fire you might get burned! For anyone that has teens and want to stop them from ever trying cigarettes you might have them read this book and find out what happens when you play with smoke and it turns to fire. Loyalty, deceit, lies, cover-ups, fraud and one town covered with a veil of darkness. The Sin of Certainty: one thing I can say for sure you want to read this novel filled with so many final twists and one explosive ending you will stay glued to the printed page from start to finish.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN ROSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME OUT: MY REVIEW


Time Out: Mary Allen Sochet

 

Imagine meeting a special man and having him write a special song just for you. What about this man calling you at 4 in the morning to sing this special song to you before you start your day. Mary Allen Sochet was married to a man named Moishe for 50 years and it is in his memory that she wrote this book, shared her thoughts and beautiful poems. The book of free verse poems is her way of keeping their story alive and sharing it with readers. Losing a spouse or loved one brings you sorrow and pain that never really goes away. The anguish, loneliness and hollow feeling are filled in time with memories, reflections, thoughts, pictures and reminders when you see the faces of your children, the remembrances of the causes you each believed in and the home that you shared together. In this case our author and her late husband lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for many years. Read the song Moishe wrote to a girl named Marie and find out why he changed Mary to Marie and smile. Let’s begin the journey. Reliving their journey from the beginning we hear her voice as they start their trip and have no gas in their car. Finally driving up Riverside Drive she relates that they are headed for New Jersey and they still need to stop for gas. The incident is quite unique as she finally convinces him to get off at an exit to fill up before they do not get where they are going. Berating him is next and she lets him know what she thinks of his behavior thinking all the time that she wishes they were a normal couple, which probably is the reason they are so unique. Being different is what might have bonded them so together for so many years. Why Do I Care? Is the next poem in this book. You can hear the both Mary and Moishe as they argue, talk and wonder and remember why they stayed together for so long. No matter what they might have said to each other the words seem silly when you think about it and they carried or moved on. My Romance Followed by I Wish I Could Paint You, which is a unique way of describing their courting, their relationship and their time together.

 

Imagine meeting a man in the laundry room who has no clue about how to operate a washing machine or how much soap to put in. Well: you guessed it the machine overflowed. Calling her and they went out more and more and got married. Chapters One and Two; Chapter three the poor washing machine frizzed out and they did not bother to get another one. She describes her life and compares it to a field of green grass and then the joy of knowing no one died. Peaceful and happy for a time and more aware of their aging as she shares more about Moishe of Mersh. Her description is so vivid that you can picture him in your mind even before you come to his handsome photo on page 40. Describing their relationship it reminds me of Lucy and Ricky or Fred and Ethel as he gives her the business and she gives it to him in return. Next read about how they learned more about each other in the free style poem titled: Learning About Twigs and One Another where she describes Moise in detail as a person, physical changes and his manner. Letting us know that she is Irish and he is Jewish and they combined their faiths into interesting Sabbath dinners and traditions including Christmas and Chanukah. Added within this poem or story about their life together are reminders of their time as activists in the 60’s and marching on the Pentagon and the incident at One Police Plaza. Moishe now overweight and no longer the man he was when she met him, the kidney surgery and her thoughts about growing old, fat, wrinkled and gray. The sadness of attending funerals and fewer wedding and the memories of North Carolina as she relates their time together in this story poem followed by After: when he is gone. Her definition of death starts Part Two but first she shares a picture of the man she loved for so many years. The Poem: What is Death? Reminds everyone how short our time on earth is, how precious each moment and how fragile our lives are. A father’s day without Marvin (Moishe), no guy at the end of the phone or even at the “end of the world, and the world is different from now on.

 

Author Mary Allen Sochet describes her life like a “ piece of sandpaper,” which is quite remarkable and unique. Sandpaper is rough, when touching it you hear a scratching sound and the wearing down of her life, no life raft to help her stay afloat as she now travels the rough waters alone. His brown corduroy pants, as she relates the rest of the poem to Marvin as if he could hear her thoughts and her words telling him about the many things that made him special. Reading about the seltzer, UBet and Challah brought back memories of living with my grandparents in the South Bronx and my uncle who delivered seltzer she told me along with UBet concluding the poem with words we all want to say to those that have passed: You come back!

 

In Melorra’s room is next followed by Before You Came and Days of Obligation faced after he is gone. The description of how she got through her days as if she was walking in a cloud or huge fog waiting for it to life. Grieving they call it and the tears flow even when you least expect them. The Two Thousands focuses on his death, her son being away her daughter losing a child, a job loss and the many battles that still have to be won and the hurdles that needed to be overcome.  A friend from the past or the 60’s brings back memories. 763 days together imagine 47 years of marriage and wishing for more. The next poem is Saturday night I went to party with her two sons and father. A party for someone turning 70 with no mother, no Laura just pictures of her. Leaving the party reminding the us that now there are three where once there was four. The next poem in the collection is “Wishes don’t wash dishes,” followed by You took him and I Keep the Radio On. Memories flash into her mind as the recalls the simple things they shared like the Dollar Store, singing on New Years Eve and just wishing her never left. A question starts the next poem and it is one that many of us including myself have asked more often than not: How come you up and died like that? Losing both my sister and my mom within a few of months of each other last year I still ask that question and just like the author wonder why. Ten minutes is all it took for him to go and then she never got to say what she wanted to him. In 27 minutes my sister was legally they claimed brain dead and I was not told until four hours later that she was even in the hospital. As the author relates “What’s going on Moishe? You come. You go.” “Stick around, will you! February 2 is next then This Morning and Where Were You Mersh? The World Has Come Undone without You: says it all ass he relates how her world and her life has come apart and the trouble with the economy, the war in Afghanistan and the joy of her daughter having a baby named after him. Life goes on.  The final poems describe her feelings about aging, becoming a Widow Again and living her life as many do when they lose a loved one as if “walking through a long dark tunnel: the sun is definitely at the other end it just takes time to find and see it.

The next is written as if another person or narrator is telling her story how she felt about him and what happened to them. The last is Patience in this Woman of 72, which sums it up. Her definition of the word Patience is quite profound. “Patience in a world that brings a small new courage.” You never really close the door Mary you just keep it open so that your memories remain with you forever. Listen to the song he wrote and you will smile. Told by the author and narrator poems that take us along their 47 years of life.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

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 

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