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THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN BY JINA BACARR—A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

November 22, 2022 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , , ,

The Orphans of Berlin

Jina Bacarr

ISBN: 978-1804153475

November 10, 2022

Boldwood Books

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Distance and independence from her overbearing mother are just what Kay Alexander needs to establish her life on her own terms, and figure out who she is and her place in the world. When her uncle Archibald offers her an unusual opportunity in Paris, she jumps at the chance. Fluent in French, a debutante, socialite, and heiress to her family’s Radwell chocolate business, Kay feels confident to take on this challenge.

How hard can it be to mingle and observe what goes on in the salons and grand hotels, and spy on some German leader named Hitler?

Under the guise of studying the French chocolate business, in order to open an American Radwell Chocolates branch in Paris, Kay finds her own troubles pale in comparison to the realities of German occupation, brutal Nazi soldiers, and horrific antisemitism.

Thrust into the precipice of a world on the verge of war, Kay determines to use her money and affluence to help as many people as she can; in particular three young Jewish sisters, desperate to escape Europe and the certain death camps that threaten to swallow them up.

The risks she takes, the friends she makes, and the daring pilot she falls in love with, will change her life forever.

As one of the characters states, “…we’re stronger in harmony.”

The Orphans of Berlin is a song of bravery, sacrifice, and freedom that sings out loud and strong.

See you next time on December 22nd!

~Veronica

This month, Jann Ryan has a fabulous interview with Jina Bacarr, the author of The Orphans of Berlin. Read it here.

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Artistic Expression and Why it Matters by Veronica Jorge

October 22, 2022 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as
Old books bound by a new shiny chain with an old padlock. Forbidden old works artists on a wooden table. Dark background.

“Picture it. Sicily….” Most of us will recognize that memorable line with which the outspoken Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by Estelle Getty in the television sitcom, The Golden Girls prefaced her words of wisdom and advice.

And what movie goer can ever forget Marlon Brando’s husky voice in the Godfather as the Italian patriarch Don Vito Corleone? “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Charlton Heston will forever be etched in the mind as Moses parting the red sea in Cecil B. DeMille’s, The Ten Commandments.

And in my estimation, Omar Sharif’s interpretation of the apostle Peter in the movie of the same name was superb.

All of these portrayed ethnicities and faiths other than their own. And we loved it.

So, I don’t understand the current trend that considers telling a story other than your own taboo because it means you are appropriating another’s culture.

The world of literature has made important contributions to our knowledge of and understanding of other peoples and cultures. For example: Japanese born Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, The Remains of the Day, allowed us a glimpse into a stately English home through the eyes of a British butler. Arthur Golden took us into the world and emotions of Japanese geisha women in his novel, Memoirs of a Geisha. The white journalist and novelist, John Howard Griffin medically colored his skin to pen, Black Like Me, a novel that made us feel the terror of being black in the deep South. Pearl S. Buck, an advocate of cross-cultural understanding and racial harmony, left a legacy of philanthropy and literature that includes her portraits of China in the novels, The Good Earth and Peony. And, I Claudius, by the British novelist Robert Graves, written as an autobiography, revealed the mind and nature of a Roman emperor.

Let’s be honest, whether it’s a hairstylist, auto mechanic, doctor, technician, or politician, we want the person who can best do the job. We evaluate them according to their experience, competence, and track record, not by their race, color or creed.

Why should the arts be any different? For the price of theatre tickets today, I want to get my money’s worth with the best performance. When I purchase a book, I want captivating writing that merits it a place of honor on my shelf.

Actors and writers research the world and times of the individuals they portray and write about. They enlighten us on issues we may be unaware of. They speak for the voiceless and reveal the invisible people we often pass on the street every day and ignore. The characters they bring to life illuminate events and sometimes horrific stories that need to be told. We begin to understand the challenges that motivate people’s actions and choices. We feel their anguish, hopes and dreams that are often our own as well. Via the actor’s and writer’s skillful character studies and world building, we meet believable individuals that we will never forget, and that we enjoy seeing and reading about over and over again. Their work is often the catalyst that spurs us to act and make changes which result in a better life for all of us.

Whether you read Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell or, The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall, both offer valuable insights and perspectives for understanding the people and the times.

Based on today’s standards, many of the wonderful novels that we consider literary classics would have never been written, and some of the movies we make a tradition of watching each year would have never been made.

The following quote from the 1895 poem, ‘Judge Softly or Walk a Mile in His Moccasins’ by Mary T. Lathrap (1838-1895) summarizes the importance of artistic expression.

“ Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions and see the world through his spirit and eyes…”

One might say that the empathy in acting and writing, its ability to help us understand and share the feelings of another, is essential for creating and participating in a just and safe society.

The only requirement that makes such magic possible is unfettered and uncensored artistic expression.

I hope that actors, writers, and all artists will continue unhindered to depict significant works of art that capture moments in time, help us understand the world around us, show us who we are, and inspire us to be kinder and more compassionate towards one another.

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on November 22nd!

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WHISKEY LOVE—A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

September 22, 2022 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

Who doesn’t love a good romance? Especially when you start wishing the story was your own.

It’s the 1800s, in Tennessee. Folks don’t take kindly to outsiders, especially highfalutin northeasterners. Men reject women meddling in business affairs, particularly the whiskey business. And the temperance movement is in full swing, trying to do away with intoxicating spirits altogether.

Meet Chloe Tanner, a high-born lady from Boston, who has inherited her family’s famous distillery, which she is determined to keep and run against all the odds.

Bold and brash, Chloe can hold her own against societal mores and conventions and inept managers. But she’s thrown off balance by her attraction to the very handsome Penland Kittrell, her main business rival.

When a suspicious fire burns the cornfield that supplies Chloe’s business, the bottling company claims to be out of stock, her office is blown up, and someone takes a shot at her, Chloe braces herself for the fight of her life.

Is it the temperance movement? A disgruntled worker she fired? Men who don’t want to work for a woman? Or her rival, Penland Kittrell, the man she’s fallen in love with, trying to shut her down or force her to sell out?

As Chloe discovers. “Sometimes you can’t help who your heart falls for, you just have to deal with it. Somehow.”

But with so many threats against her business and now her life, how will she deal with it? And can she trust the love of her life, Penland Kittrell?

If you like danger, mystery, romance, and strong heroines, Whiskey Love by Joy Allyson is the book for you.

You might also find yourself reaching for a bit of Tennessee history and whiskey.

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on October 22nd!

WHISKEY LOVE

JOY ALLYSON

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

2022   

ISBN: 978-1-5092-4191-0

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Distant Relations: A Finn O’Brien Crime Thriller Reviewed by Veronica Jorge

August 22, 2022 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

DISTANT RELATIONS
A Finn O’Brien Crime Thriller
Book 5

REBECCA FORSTER

August 2022   

ASIN: BOB4194WX8

ISBN:  978-1005643881

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It started out as just another day. Finn O’Brien waited at the airport to greet his uncle. What he saw was the plane exploding, bursting into flames, and taking his uncle and the other passengers with him.

Fans of the Finn O’Brien series know that nothing’s ever ordinary in the life of this detective. Forced to kill a fellow officer who had been trying to kill him, he had been vilified in the press and ostracized by his peers. Personally, it gnawed at him that he had never been able to solve his younger brother’s murder. And his wife’s divorce still tortured him. A man of purpose and faith, he had endured it all, and then some.

Finding the airline uncooperative as he tries to get answers, and stonewalled by the investigative agents gets Finn’s Irish up. His gut tells him that this explosion was no accident. What are they trying to cover up?

With no help or back-up from his department, it’s up to Finn and his faithful partner Cori to follow the money trail and challenge the powers in charge in order to discover the truth and hopefully prevent more deaths.

Mystery, murder, danger, suspense, and a hint of romance, Distant Relations has it all. Readers of Finn O’Brien will fall in love with him all over again.

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on September 22nd!

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The Eviction of Figures of Speech

July 22, 2022 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,

The current trend in writing is to tread carefully when using figurative language because descriptions may be offensive, such as comparing people with foods. So, even though my complexion is cappuccino and my eyes are almond-shaped, I’m not allowed to say that; even about my own self. It’s considered feeding a stereotype. In the Caribbean, we often made jokes by claiming, “I’m not really brown, I just stayed in the sun too long.”  Or, “My hair’s not really kinky, it’s the humidity.”

From time immemorial, (I’m not really saying that time is old. Experienced perhaps?), people have been all colors, shapes, and sizes. Writers, artists and photographers capture what they see. Okay, maybe some artists were punished if the sovereign didn’t like how they were depicted, but a photo doesn’t lie. Yeah, that’s really you. Though nowadays you can doctor it up in photoshop.

It would seem that one may no longer describe characters as ‘cute as a button,’ ‘cool as a cucumber,’ ‘mean as a junkyard dog,’ ‘thick as thieves’, or ‘slow as molasses.’

Although, I don’t think the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz would be offended if I called him a stuffed shirt ‘cause he was. And Jacob Marley will forever remain ‘as dead as a doornail.’

When we order coffee, do we no longer ask for a ‘short’ or ‘tall’?

The characters writers create are fictional. Figurative Language: metaphors, similes and personification, show the reader how the character perceives themselves and/or how they are perceived by others. All of which help the reader to understand the conflicts and motivations in their lives that cause them to act as they do. Descriptive language is also the artistic palette that allows readers to see the characters.

Mirror, mirror on the wall. We are who we are. When did we become so sensitive and easily offended?

In our overzealousness to be politically and diversely correct, we risk creating flat, unrealistic and unbelievable characters that by page five are dead on arrival.

Sometimes I wonder who is this collective that wants to do away with metaphors, similes and personification? As in the Wizard of Oz, I would like to draw back the curtain to reveal the ‘all-powerful’ entity controlling the literary world.

I don’t care what anyone says, the truth is the truth. My grandfather was black as tar, my father thin as six o’clock, my best-friend cackled like a chicken, my aunt nattered like a monkey, my uncle snored like a chainsaw.

And the world really is round, no matter how flat ‘they’ think it is.

See you next time on August 22nd!

Veronica Jorge

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