Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Gracianna by Trini Amador -- Review + Giveaway!

I had the pleasure of reading a wonderful tale recently, based on the life of a real woman--Gracianna. It was fascinating and inspiring. I highly recommend it! Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy (US only).


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

The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.

My Review

I absolutely enjoy reading books about people who really lived, and with Gracianna, I had a particular interest, given that members of my own family had lived through the difficulties of World War II. Even more intriguing is that the author is the great-grandson of Gracianna. He isn't simply reliving the past through research, but also through personal connection, and while a lot of it is imagined, we can't help but hope that Gracianna is truly this heroine that Mr. Amador brings to life.

Gracianna is a woman with heart and dreams. She doesn't accept the life she's told she must live, but strives for more, believes wholeheartedly that there is more to her future than working her fingers to the bone as a maid in a small village. And so instead of just dreaming like so many women of her time did, she takes life by the horns and demands satisfaction. She travels to Paris and hopes to soon make her way to America. But then the terror of war hits close to home. Paris is occupied by Nazis. Gracianna's own sister is in the hands of enemy, and she must find a way to free her at all costs. The story deals with an intense and terrifying time. A dark and gritty period in history that will leave you both cringing and praying and turning the pages.

A powerful, poignant page-turner, Gracianna takes you into the darkest parts of humanity and shows you that strength of human spirit can prevail over evil. 

Praise for Gracianna

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

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

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

About the Author

Trini Amador vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun. This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination. It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.

Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values, motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15 years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..

Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg, California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.


Elizabeth said...

Loved this book.

THANKS for your post.

My review is up today.

Have a great weekend.

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Shana said...

Sounds like an amazing book!!!

shanahattis at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Sounds intriguing

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Eliza Knight said...

And the winner is... Shana!