I recently read Gracianna by Trini Amador. Trini Amador is co-founder of Gracianna Winery in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, CA. The winery and wine was named to honor his Grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga, the Gracianna of the title.
When the author was 4 years old he found a loaded German luger in his Grandma’s house in South California. Years later, he was able to delve into his family history to find out why his Grandmother would have a loaded German gun. He used her story to write Gracianna; combining fact with fiction.
At the age of eighteen, in the early 1940s, believing drunken comments from American vacationers who said they would employ her in America, Gracianna was determined to make the journey. On her way to American from the French-Basque region of France, she had to pass through Paris. Once there, she was caught up in the Nazi Occupation of Paris and in the French Resistance Movement. Her sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Gracicanna then began a determined effort to free her sister. With Nazi headquarters in her backyard, she finds a job working in a bar cafe and sharpens her instincts for survival in occupied Paris. In time she is recruited into the French Resistance. As Gracianna works to free her sister, the story continues and takes us into the horrors of the concentration camps while giving us an insight to the persecution of the Jewish people in France.
Luckily, Juan, a shepherd from her village a strong, dependable young man has loved Gracianna for years. He followed her to Paris and due to his hard work and adaptability, was able to support himself and Gracianna through the very troubled times of World War II.
This is a tale of love, family, suspense and survival. It is not an easy read, due to both the subject matter and the style of writing. Do I recommend it? I’m not sure. Readers will either love it or hate it.
The Luger found by the young author….well, grab a glass of wine and settle in to read the book to find out why that was important to Grandmother Gracianna.