Friday, November 15, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Gracianna by Trini Amador

Today I'm excited to share with you a wonderfully rich historical fiction novel set in Nazi-occupied Paris. After reading my review, feel free to follow the tour on twitter #GraciannaTour. Click for Tour Schedule!

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

Rating: 4 of 5 stars :star :star :star :star 

A copy of this book was provided to me as part of the blog tour; in exchange for an honest review. 

Gracianna was a beautifully written historical fiction novel set in Nazi-occupied Paris. It's based on actual events; the author writes an account of his great grandmothers life, blending fact with fiction to make a thrilling story. 

The story centers around the life of Gracianna. She is a completely unique Basque girl who grew up in a village under the care of her strict grandmother. Gracianna learned many things from her grandmother, and acquired many of her traits from her -- including a pronounced need to be perfect. Village life found something lacking to Gracianna and she dreamed of marrying an American university boy and moving to America. One day she just set off to Paris! The first step in her journey to America. She would work hard, and with only a few francs in her pocket she soon found herself a dorm and a job.

We also meet Juan; he is a shepherd and has known Gracianna ever since they were kids. He longs to have his own sheep one day, on his own land. He also longs for Gracianna. Soon he follows her to Paris and is working toward their dream of going to America together. But, the war comes and with it everything changes. Gracianna's sister Constance is taken to Auschwitz and Gracianna does her part to fight and somehow get her sister out of the camps. I came to really feel for Juan and loved his character as much as I did Gracianna.

This novels was a very richly imagined story that had elements that made it feel like a historical thriller. I liked that the setting and cultures were detailed and I felt like (by the end) I knew a lot about Basque culture! I'm actually super curious to know exactly how much of the story was based on fact, and how much was fiction. I'd also like to know what happened to Gracianna's grandmother, Anastasia. It was fascinating to read how even when people were going through terrible life during the war, they were still fighting back in a very real, very direct way.

I'd recommend this beautiful novel to those who enjoy reading heart warming stories that, although sometimes sad, are filled with lovely characters and great lessons. It is a historical fiction, but has elements of a thriller or mystery, because it's more exciting than your typical historical fiction novel! Don't expect a boring story about Nazi occupied Paris-- that's not what Gracianna is.

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, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter@GraciannaWinery.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.
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(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.


  1. I love the concept of this book and this is based on the authors family history. Sounds really interesting, especially the thriller/mystery elements, I wasn't expecting that from the cover!

    1. Yeah I liked the thriller elements too! It made it much more exciting than I first expected :O


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