1950s Cuba, the pearl of the Caribbean, is the idyllic home of the Cohen family whose ancestors found refuge in Cuba after being exiled from Poland during World War II and the Nazi regime. The two Cohen brothers, Aaron and Moises, are up and coming young men ready to make their mark on the world.
Aaron, a bank lawyer, enjoys the relaxing nonchalance of the tropics and is eagerly hoping for a promotion, and planning his wedding.
Moises, somber and studious, and at odds with his family over his political stance, spends his time engrossed in Marxism, grappling with what he sees as the corruption inherent in the current society.
The relaxing nonchalance of the island paradise is thrown into an uproar by the fire of revolution, and the eventual overthrow of the government by Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.
Moises, enraptured by the revolution, determines to fight against “the cathedral of capitalism and its den of thieves.”
When property and businesses are confiscated, the young men’s parents find themselves living their own parents’ nightmares of having to flee their native country.
Marked an enemy of the working class, Aaron the banker, is sidelined and must now kowtow to former aides. Attempting to obtain visas out of the country for his family, he finds himself trapped in a cruel game of cat and mouse.
Desperate to save his family, Aaron seeks out his brother Moises for help. But he’s part of Fidel’s group. Will he help? Can he trust him?
How strong will family ties prove for two brothers on the opposite sides of revolution and history?
Destructive alliances, family ties, and the uplifting power of faith, culture, and love make Incident at San Miguel a compelling and engrossing read.
For more of Alan Sidransky’s books, in which he writes about ordinary people faced with extraordinary events and situations, check out his website at www.ajsidransky.com. You can also read my reviews on this blog of some of his other titles.
See you next time on June 22nd.
News stories remind us daily of the migrant crisis throughout the world as people flee their homes for a variety of reasons. Refugee, by Alan Gratz, though written for a middle-grade audience, is a riveting novel for adults as well that draws us into the migrant experience from a child’s perspective.
Three continents. Three different time periods. Three children fleeing their countries.
Alan Gratz joins the past and the present to weave a gripping tale of the harrowing experiences of three children forced from their homes due to war and political unrest.
Josef yearns to celebrate his upcoming bar mitzvah and finally become a man. He just never expected it to be on a ship bound for Cuba, which he and his family board to escape out of Nazi Germany. When the ship is forced to return to Europe, and perhaps certain death, Josef finds himself thrust into adulthood and must make a decision that will determine the survival of his family.
Fast forward to 1994, when Cuba is teeming with food shortages and riots. Teenage Isabel finds herself on a questionable homemade raft. Together with her family and the neighbors next door, they depart for the United States. They just need the raft to hold up, avoid the Coast Guard, pray the sharks don’t get them, and hope that her mother, heavy with child, can survive the journey.
On the other side of the world, in 2015, war tears Syria apart, forcing Mahmoud’s father to seek a safe haven for his family. Amidst gunfire, danger, and the ever-present threat of death, they travel through Turkey and Serbia, enduring hunger, thieves, and prison. Mahmoud and his family continue onward through Austria and finally Germany, where the lives of the three children find a binding tie.
Refugee is a fast-paced, heart-rending story of the strength and courage of children and their valiant efforts, despite all obstacles, to forge a life filled with meaning and purpose.
See you next time on May 22nd!
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.
See you next time on September 22nd!2 2 Read more
When you’re a kid, the most you should have to stress over is doing your homework, and the biggest fear should be a zit in the middle of your forehead just before your birthday party. Not so for 12-year-old Jaime and his 15-year-old cousin Angela.
The Alpha Gang has targeted them to become new members–an order, not a choice. The death of Jaime’s cousin and Angela’s brother Miguel remains engraved in their memories, fresh and tangible proof of what will happen to them too if they refuse to join.
Alexandra Diaz’s realistic and tense drama takes us into the heart of Guatemala and the depths of despair as one close-knit family makes the gut-wrenching decision to send the two children away–in order to save their lives.
The money for the “fees” to travel to El Norte, sewn into the waistband of Jaime’s pants, weighs heavily upon him, along with the realization that his family has plunged deeper into debt for his sake. Now their future–and his–depends upon his making it to the United States.
Jaime and his cousin dodge rogue border guards and endure hunger, thirst, fear, prejudice and hostility as they travel illegally from Guatemala into Mexico and then, hopefully, into the United States.
In an age of peoples displaced due to wars and catastrophes, and controversy over immigration issues, this title serves as a reminder of the reasons why many leave their countries for the dream and promise of America. The Only Road, a Pura Belpre Honor Book, reminds the reader that sometimes flight is the only option, and that love, at times, demands great sacrifices.
(My review originally published by the Christian Library Journal; used with permission.)
See you next time on February 22nd!5 2 Read more
Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York.
Her Work in Progress is a Young Adult Novel based on a search into her ethnic roots that explores identity, belonging, and self-discovery. Her genres of choice are historical fiction, where she always makes new discoveries, literary works because she loves beautiful writing, and children’s picture books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited.
She currently resides in Macungie, PA., but she’s still a Brooklyn girl at heart. How sweet it is!
Veronica’s story “Fiona Malone’s Fesh,” is featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of Bethlehem Writers Roundtable.
In addition to her fiction, she has a monthly column, Write from the Heart, here on A Slice of Orange where she writes about writing, life and does book reviews.
Connect with her on Facebook @VeronicaJorgeauthor