Beginning Anew starts with the two lovers marrying (again) and embarking on a life together in trust. Both need to learn to open up and much of the story is about their inner worries and fears as they plan to live together away from the house for immigrants and move into their own home. Interspersed are historical segments about the poor treatment of Jews in Spain and stories about a woman who was running the house for immigrants some 70 years ago.
Naomi and Chaz are great characters, full of depth and thought; they have wonderful and helpful friends, not least amongst them a Catholic Priest who supports them regardless of their faith being different to his. As true Christian he has nothing but love and tolerance for others. This comes particularly timely as Naomi’s existence as Jew (even in 1967) exposes her to some hostility.
The book also speaks of God’s gift to his children, Jesus the Messiah, and his expected return to earth. This religious theme is handled particularly well since the author portrays it with love and enthusiasm but without a hint of persuasion or teaching. All she does is paint a vision of a time (when this Messiah comes) when religious differences will no longer matter, which in my view is a world we should all aspire to. And until that time comes her characters swear to do as much of this work for tolerance as they can.
There are also some very interesting segments about Columbus and his first settlements on the new continent and much historical detail.
Once again Michelson has written a great account of history and a pledge for tolerance. The story will continue in another book, which I look forward to reading.
AMAZON | GOODREADS
Paula Rose Michelson is not only an author but also a mother of two married daughters, and the grandmother of seven. She authored the Casa de Naomi Series.
Today, February 1, 2014 The Naomi Chronicles, Book One, Beginning Anew will release on Amazon.
In 1988, she founded LAMB Ministries which teaches women recovering from trauma and abuse.
While awaiting the copyright for the first LAMB recovery book titled, “Why Did We Become Angry?”
She wrote a series of politically incorrect articles that will be published under the title, “The Purple Pitch Seduction of America.” These will release in 2014.
Paula can be found online on:
Smashwords – http://ow.ly/sTZsu
Author of Faith Stories www.PaulaRoseMichelson.com
Praising God for Praise! http://WritingPaulaRose.
An hour later, Chaz came home. Finding the front door open and the grating, “High hopes…high hopes…” playing over and over again, he looked for Naomi and heard her crying behind her bedroom’s closed door, unwilling to come out. When he asked if Florita had been there, Naomi’s gut-wrenching sobs assured him that she had. I will get to the bottom of this, he told himself. He let Naomi know he had an errand to run and stormed out of the house.
Entering the market, he scanned the cash registers in search of Florita. As he did, Chaz remembered Naomi creating the summer job for this recent high school graduate when there was no need to because, as Naomi put it, “It will help her understand all a new Tía would need to know to take over my work.”
He thought of the day Naomi had shared that the commitment she made to each family affected her choice as she explained, “A Tía must be chosen from those rescued from immigration or someone who lives in the barrio. Since I agreed to this unspoken pledge, and I understand Florita’s heart, she, like her family, will always have a job here, until she is called to serve the needy.”
Chaz fumed as he searched for the girl. I would like to give that girl a job! I know a job that would help her develop a caring heart in a hurry!
“Why, Señor Chaz,” Flora said with a smile, which was replaced with a frown when she noticed his dire mood, “Es algo malo?”
“What do you mean, is something wrong?” Chaz demanded as he struggled to rein in his anger. “What did your daughter say to my wife? She is in her bedroom crying and will not come out!”
“I have no idea what you mean. She went to help Naomi. I had her bring over a record I knew Naomi would enjoy.”
“Are you sure that is all that happened while Florita was at our house?”
“I cannot tell you all that happened as Florita finished her shift before she left.”
“She did not come back?”
“No.” Aware that something was horribly wrong, she insisted, “She usually goes home after her shift!” Grabbing her purse from under the counter, Flora waved for a clerk to take over her cash register. “Since you do not know the way, I will show you.”
Chaz nodded. At his urging, they hurried along and Flora was gasping for breath when they finally reached her home. She took her house key out of her purse, and while unlocking the front door said, “It was a challenge for me to match your pace.”
“If I have my way,” he snarled, “that will not be the only challenge you have to deal with this day!”
As she opened the front door, Chaz heard a vaguely familiar voice ask, “Mrs. Lopez, you are home early. Is there a problem?”
The woman froze in her steps as fear gripped her heart. Shrugging her shoulders, she said a silent prayer and motioned for Chaz to enter. “No problem, Lola. Someone is here to say hi to you. That’s all.”
“I do not want to see….”
“But you must,” Flora whispered as they entered the darkened room. “Lola, Mr. Romero is here to see you.”
“Tell him to go away.”
“No, child. The padre told you to seek forgiveness from those you harmed. Remember?”
Chaz heard the rustle of something and noticed a slightly uneven gait as Lola walked towards the front door where he stood. The outside light illuminated her form but not her features.
“Please, forgive me,” a sweet childlike voice begged as the girl limped toward him.
“I do not know if I can!”
“I did not think you could.” Lola turned away, caught her foot in the rug, and fell. Her shriek and pain filled sobs reverberated throughout the house.
Moved by Lola’s sorrow, he scooped her up and carried her to the couch. Thinking he might have stepped into her trap, he was surprised to discover that contact with her flesh did not elicit the perverse thoughts and images he had experienced before.
Flora turned on the light. “Come on, child, let me help you.” Lola mumbled something to Flora, who nodded to Chaz. “She says you must leave the room for a moment.”
As Chaz turned away, he asked, “Lola, are you all right?”
“I’m fine. Thank you for your help.”
Noticing that her words sounded odd, Chaz turned towards her. He saw the ravaged face of the once beautiful teenager and gasped. “But, why were we not told!”
Smiling crookedly, she said, “This has nothing to do with you. I got what I deserved.”
A record began to play, and Florita hurried into the living room. Eying Chaz dismissively, she put her arm under the younger girl’s and said, “Come, there is music playing in Alicia’s room, listening to it will help you think of better things.” With Florita’s help, Lola left the room.
Flora opened the blinds while motioning for Chaz to sit down. “Now you understand why my daughter may not have treated your wife as she should, Chaz. I do not make excuses for her, as her heart at times leads her into areas of darkness where I wish she would not go. In this regard, she is very much like your wife. Sí?”
“That is true. Do you think your daughter told Naomi about Lola?”
“I am afraid Florita feels she must voice her opinion about what is happing to Lola.”
“If she met Lola before this happened to her, she would understand.”
“Telling her now what Lola was like then, is like trying to understand the music from another room, a room whose door is shut.”
“Then the girl and Naomi are in the same emotional state.” Chaz turned towards the door. “Both need something that no one but God can give them.”
“Lola’s door has closed, and this is a good thing. However, Naomi’s door must open. The music she hears calling to her from another room will heal her heart if she has the courage to follow it and the support to reach her journey’s end.”
“That is true.”
“Good. So now we both know what to do.”