When I read the introductory prologue ‘Ker-boomb’ of Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević’s book, ‘Dubrovnik My Love’, I was hooked. Four young boys in Croatia in 1943 were playing with bombs left over from World War II and with delight were exploding them over a sea-cliff.
This novel, based on a true story is about Gasper, the main character who as a young man in the 1950’s escaped from his own country of Yugoslavia which was under the communist rule of Tito following World War II. This escape nearly led to a watery end, but he and his escapee companions miraculously made it to Italy. He migrated to Australia with the shadow of the Udba, the Yugoslav secret police accompanying him.
Eventually he moved to New Zealand where he met the Australian born French-English artist Suzanne. They married, had a family and created a good life together. However, Gasper could not forget Dubrovnik, the beautiful historical city of his youth and in the mid 1990’s Gasper, with Suzanne, returned to visit the city he loved so dearly and where he reconnected with his past. Both Gasper and his beloved Dubrovnik had survived.
Writing this as a novel was an excellent way of telling Gasper’s story as it gave the author the freedom to write with emotion and from the heart. I found this enabled me to connect to Gasper and as the book continued, I found myself travelling with him.
It was Suzanne’s love, commitment and involvement that motivated her to be Gasper’s “voice” and write his story. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It had characterisation, drama, danger and told of loyalty, resilience, survival and tenacity. And it was based on fact.
If you like a good story, this is the book for you.
Dubrovnik My Love by Suzanne Brooks-Pinčević. Leon Publications, RRP $34.99