Title: Finding Amor
Author: Allison K. Garcia
Genre: Latino Christian Fiction
Release date: September 8, 2018
In a world filled with hate, how can you know what love is?
Escaping a violent and abusive environment, eight-year-old Emanuel Martinez attempts to cross through three countries to be with his mother, Ana, whom he hasn’t seen since he was a baby. When la migra catches him at the border and he’s thrown into an immigration center, his dreams for being a real family start to disappear.
Vowing never to be like her own mother who abandoned her and never looked back, Ana has worked for six years to get her son to the United States, Now Ana has to rely on her distant mother and her alcoholic boyfriend, Carlos, to finally get her son to her side so they can build a life together.
When Lauren Barrett agrees to help with the afterschool program, she soon realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Growing up in an unsupportive home has made her insecure and vulnerable, plus suffering through years of infertility hasn’t helped matters. Yet she longs to do something meaningful with her life and wonders when that opportunity will come along. When a special young boy named Emanuel enters her life, he turns her worldview on its head.
As their lives intersect, will they help each other understand what family and love and home really mean?
4 Stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book is a poignant, insightful story about the struggles faced by those who have illegally crossed the border into the United States for a better life and to reunite with family. Eight year old Emmanuel crosses the border to escape a bad life in his home country, El Salvador. Between the way he is treated by his aunt and uncle and the gangs that force young children to join, his great-grandmother convinces his mother (she escaped to the US 7 years earlier), that she needs to get him out, now! Faced with the dangers from the crossing, and being arrested as he enters the country, he is worried he will never be reunited with his mother. They finally get together and Emmanuel moves to Virginia to live with his mother and her boyfriend.
The challenges that his mother faces living as an illegal in the US make their life difficult, but with help from others, they survive. I found this book got more interesting as the story progressed. As I got to know the characters, especially Emmanuel, I became invested in his story. There is also a second story line going on involving a well-off white, upper middle class woman named Lauren. As her story weaves together with Emmanuel’s it made me rethink my life and my views. The cultural references in this book are plentiful. They are well written and I learned a lot about the Latino culture. Unfortunately, this is where I had one issue with the book. There was a lot of the conversation written in Spanish. I speak absolutely no Spanish and often lost the flow of the story, checking the translation provided.
I enjoyed this book and was planning the story in my head as I was sure I knew what was going to happen. I don’t know if I am correct, because this book ends on a cliffhanger, so I will have to wait to see what is next for Emmanuel, Ana (his mother), Lauren and Peter as well as all the other friends and acquaintances that I met in this story. With so much going on in the US involving illegal border crossings, illegal aliens, deportations, separating families and more, this is a very timely and emotional story. I recommend this one to anyone wanting to get a different perspective on these issues, as well as anyone who enjoys a good Christian Fiction story.
About the Author: Allison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo.
Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Religious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018.
Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.