Author Spotlight is designed to give a brief introduction about Authors who have inspired us to write and read more. These Authors have experimented with the genres and, presented something fresh which made us laugh, cry and think.
This month, the author in the spotlight is: Monique Roy
About Monique Roy
Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her debut, historical fiction novel.
Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is also the author of a children’s book Once Upon a Time in Venice. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, pursue her passion for writing, and read historical fiction. In 2008, she was chosen by the American Jewish Committee’s ACCESS program to travel to Berlin, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to explore German and Israeli relations along with 20 other Jewish professionals from across the U.S.
About her books
Once Upon A Time In Venice: An intriguing, middle-grade chapter book that takes young readers, ages 9-12, on a physical and emotional journey to Venice, Italy. This enchanting story revolves around the relationship between Samuelle, a young boy, and his grandfather Leo. Leo has learned that he suffers from a terminal illness, and in his wistful skimming of artifacts from the past, he uncovers treasured mementos of his earliest years growing up in the romantic city of Venice. Sharing them with Samuelle, he infects the boy with an infatuation for the city, one they will both share when Leo decides to accept an invitation to participate in the annual Regatta, a rowing festival that his own great-grandfather had competed in with great success. The two embark on their journey without Samuelle knowing about Leo’s illness, but Leo makes a promise to himself that it is in Venice, after he has passed on his knowledge and fondness for the city to his grandson, that he will reveal the truth about his fate. Venice becomes a special place in their hearts forever.
This beautiful, middle-grade chapter book will show young readers, ages 9-12, the strong impact and importance of family, love, and the community in our lives. Read this preteen book with your kids, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, and you will be instantly transported to the romantic city of Venice, Italy! The vivid descriptions of Venice enliven the story. From the food and the architecture to the art and the magical canals, you are right there in Venice, without the long flight and the icky airplane food! All adventurers wanted: preteen readers are taken on an emotional journey that is educational, sad, sweet and heartwarming and opens their eyes to geography and cultures.
Read my review of the book here
A Savage Kultur : Ava, a Jewish art student at Oxford University in England, receives a heart-wrenching letter from her grandfather after he dies. From the letter, she discovers that her grandfather has left her his London art gallery, which he says will secure her future, as well as provide a place for her to grow her artistic talents and follow her passion for art. The letter also describes his one last wish—that she recover a treasured Vincent van Gogh painting, The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden IV, that belonged to her grandparents and was deemed degenerate and looted by the Nazis in 1937.
Arriving for the first time at the gallery, she discovers old photographs in a secret room that recount the harrowing past—a Nazi propaganda parade in 1937. She quickly becomes aware that the room and the gallery, with an empty frame for the missing van Gogh, hold such rich memories of her grandparents. As conversations with grandmother and those connected to the painting spur memories, the book switches back and forth between the current timeline and the timeline during the war to tell the stories of those affected by the painting and its fate. On the train to her grandfather’s funeral, she meets Gordon Rose, an FBI agent, disguised as an art restitution lawyer. He helps her track down the missing van Gogh, while at the same time, he apprehends a Neo-Nazi, albino art forger named Luther who is connected to the painting. Ava pays several visits to her grandmother, her only living relative who lived through the war and who now battles dementia, hoping she remembers something about the past that will be a clue to the missing painting and their lives in Germany during the war. It is in these hours that she sits with her grandmother that she learns about her grandparents finding refuge on an Austrian farm after they flee Munich and of Charlotte, a local farm girl who lives at Lake Toplitz. Horrified by what she witnessed, Charlotte tells her new friends how she was forced to help the Nazis sink looted treasures in Lake Toplitz.
Ava’s grandmother recalls Charlotte’s last name. With this information, Ava tracks down Charlotte at her home at Lake Toplitz and questions the old woman about what happened at the lake. On her last breath, Charlotte speaks of the secrets hidden in the lake. When Gordon breaks into Luther’s Austrian hideout, he believes Luther has forged the missing van Gogh painting. Luther claims it is the real deal, but Gordon believes otherwise. Luther is forced to return the painting to Ava. Ava takes the van Gogh painting to her grandmother, still not sure if it’s the real thing or not, but she wants to bring her grandmother closure and peace during her last days. A bittersweet ending brings the painting back into the lives of Ava and her family, and Ava and Gordon reveal their true feelings for each other.
Read my review of the book here
Across Great Divides : Across Great Divides is a timeless, World War II story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler comes to power in 1933, one Jewish family refuses to be destroyed and defies the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting Apartheid in South Africa.
Sixteen-year-old Eva and her twin sister, Inge, witness their lives in Berlin change before their eyes. Their best friend, Trudy, betrays them when she becomes a member of the Hitler Youth. A valuable family heirloom, a beautiful emerald and diamond pendant necklace, is confiscated by the Nazis as they harass Jewish families and businesses.
Their younger brother, Max, a member of the underground resistance, sees even greater danger ahead. Their father, Oskar, refuses to leave his beloved Germany and believes Hitler will eventually fail. They finally flee Nazi Germany with the help of the underground resistance —a young German man, a nun, a countess conspiring against the Nazis, and a winegrower secretly hiding Jewish children.
War continues to follow them until they arrive in Cape Town, South Africa. The family hires an impoverished colored woman, Zoe, as their maid and shields her and her daughter, Zola, from the dangers they face in the slums and from the horrors of Apartheid, which are all too reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Across Great Divides illuminates a Jewish family in Germany in WWII caught in significant 20th-century travesties: the Nazi occupation of Europe during World War Two and Apartheid in South Africa.
Read my review of the book here
The work of Monique Roy is mesmerizing and, I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
I wish her all the luck and success in life.
& with this post… This is Sonali Agarwal signing out!
I shall catch you up with my next post…
Happy Reading & Keep Writing 🙂