Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spotlight: Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

Please join Monique Roy as she tours with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for Across Great Divides, from June 16-26.

Publication Date: June 19, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
223 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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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—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 continue to harass Jewish families and businesses.

Their younger brother, Max, a member of the underground resistance, sees even greater danger ahead. Their father, Oskar, a diamond merchant with a thriving business, refuses to leave his beloved Germany and believes Hitler will eventually fail. Their mother, Helene, the elegant matriarch of the family, holds her family together.

The family is conflicted whether they should leave home. But after the devastation of Kristallnacht in 1938, they finally flee 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 young German man, a nun, a countess conspiring against the Nazis, and a winegrower secretly hiding Jewish children, help them to 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 that is targeted by a German U-boat. 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 and shields her and her daughter, Zola, 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.

Meet the Author
Monique Roy

The inspiration for my historical novel Across Great Divides came from growing up in a family that sought unceasingly to find peace. Writing was always a strong passion of mine. As a child, I used to pen imaginative stories in a journal that my parents gave me. I always knew that I wanted to and had to write a novel about how my European Jewish grandparents fled Nazi Europe and landed up in Cape Town, South Africa, where I was born.

Knowing that there were so many unique and amazing stories already published about Jews fleeing Europe during World War II, I knew that the South African twist in Across Great Divides was an unusual one. Long ago, my grandfather gave his five grandchildren 13 typed pages that described their life in Europe from the time Hitler came to power. My parents, two brothers and I emigrated from South Africa to Dallas, Texas in 1980, and unfortunately, my grandparents were never able to sit down and tell us their story. The pages that illuminated my grandparent’s story were a great inspiration and provided a good starting point for my story. My grandparents passed away many years ago, so I was unable to ask them important questions of how they fled Europe, how they attained visas, how they felt when they lived in apartheid South Africa, and many more questions that I struggled with and desired to know. Instead, I was forced to dig much deeper on my own to create a fictional story of how a Jewish family refused to be destroyed and defied the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting apartheid in South Africa. Across Great Divides is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit.

The novel connects two of the 20th century's great travesties: the Nazi occupation of Europe and apartheid in South Africa. The book is a hauntingly beautiful story of faith, family, and redemption, centered in one of the darkest periods in human history. This is a tale of one family’s struggle to survive in a world tainted with hate, capturing the raw emotion of the time, and the power of love that held them all together.

Praise for Across Great Divides

“Monique Roy writes an rousing story about a Jewish family leaving Germany during the start of WWII with the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) hot on their tails. The author must have paid attention at SMU because her prose is excellent.” – Rick O

“The story in this novel is its best feature. It’s a fascinating look at one family’s survival of the Holocaust and their experiences on the other side of the fence in apartheid South Africa. It’s that dichotomy that makes this story so intriguing.” – Sarah Gruwell

“Across Great Divides” is a wonderful tale of resilience, family, and following your moral compass. Author Monique Roy, based this inspiring story on her own grandparents journey across countries, continents, and beliefs to try and find safety from the Nazis. – Madame Librarian

Official Book Trailer


About the Author

Monique 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 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.

Discover more at Monique Roy’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Across Great Divides Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, June 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, June 18
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, June 19
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Monday, June 22
Review at Room With Books
Tuesday, June 23
Review at Book Babe
Wednesday, June 24
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, June 25
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, June 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More


  1. Thanks for this captivating and wonderful feature and giveaway. This novel interests me greatly since it is profound, and resonates with me since I am Jewish. The story is enthralling. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. What in intriguing view of the horrors of war and apartheid. Sounds like a very interesting read.

  3. sounds like an intriguing and fresh plot for WWII novels, which I love. thanks for the giveaway

  4. thx, it's good their story inspired you


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