Mar 252014

Across Great Divides 7

Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Monique Roy (September 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615846688
ISBN-13: 978-0615846682

Across Great Divides is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, one Jewish family refused to be destroyed and defied the Nazis only to come up against another struggle–apartheid in South Africa.

Sixteen-year-old twins, Eva and 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 necklace, is confiscated by the Nazis as they harass Jewish families and businesses.

Their younger brother, Max, a member of the underground resistance, sees great danger ahead. Their father, Oskar, a successful diamond merchant, refuses to leave Germany and believes Hitler will fail. Their mother, Helene, holds her family together under dire circumstances.

After the devastation of Kristallnacht in 1938, the family flees Germany with the help of the underground resistance after hiding many diamonds. They seek refuge in Antwerp, but war follows them as Belgium is occupied by the Germans.

A German man, a nun, a countess, and a winegrower help the family escape Europe. They hike over the Pyrenees Mountains while eluding German patrols and Spanish informers. Then, they spend agonizing days on a ship bound for Rio de Janeiro. As Rio’s diamond business is corrupt, they decide to go to South Africa, another diamond market.

In Cape Town, Eva encounters an impoverished colored woman, Zoe, who is in need of work. The family hires Zoe as their maid. They shield Zoe and her daughter from the dangers they face in the slums of District Six and from the horrors of apartheid, which are all too reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

But, when Max gets into trouble with the South African police over his participation in an anti-apartheid march, will he be subject to imprisonment?

In a thrilling conclusion, the family comes to terms with the evils of society, both in their memories and current situation in South Africa.

I’m not a fan of historical fiction, but the blurb caught my attention and I didn’t want to pass this book up.

This is a very emotional story that gives a glimpse of what it was like to live through Hitler’s reign in Europe and the Apartheid in South Africa. The characters were so well developed and it seems as if the author did extensive research because the story seemed to be real. I had to keep reminding myself it was a work of fiction.

At times the book was hard to read because you know that so many people actually went through this horrible time, but the main thing that keeps you reading are the well defined characters, especially Eva and Inge.

I’d recommend this book to anyone, not just those who enjoy historical fiction.


Monique Roy 7Monique Roy loves writing that twitches her smiling muscles or transports her to another time or place. Her passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice. Monique 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.

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 newest novel.

What attracts Monique to historical fiction is taking the factual record as a structure and letting imagination run wild to fill it all in. Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and Monique likes to explore the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.

Her latest book is the historical fiction, Across Great Divides.

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  3 Responses to “Review: Across Great Divides by Monique Roy”

  1. I do enjoy reading historical fiction, and this book sounds very touching and powerful. Excellent review, Vicki!

  2. I enjoy historical fiction, and have read many, but the South African angle sound very good.

  3. Quite an adventure! Takes in quite a lot of that period of history – Europe, South American, Africa! Sounds like an interesting book.

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