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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
I am always fascinated by authors who are able to weave a fascinating, but fictitious story around and through actual historical events. Roberta Seret has done this beautifully in her latest novel, Love Odyssey. Even more, readers will be captivated by the touching love story Seret has created between the male and female protagonists, Anca and Petre. It takes Petre nearly two decades to realize success with his plans, which included his own unspoken desire to emerge as the new leader of Romania, but knowing the dangers involved, he arranges for a pregnant Anca to escape safely the US where she builds a new life for herself and her daughter. Though Anca, also a doctor, accepts his decision to send her away, she has never quite forgiven him. She even divorces him. Yet, she never stops loving him, and it is that love that ultimately brings her back to Romania when she receives cryptic messages from a trusted gypsy woman. Between the messages, silent phone calls, and her own unsettling dreams, Anca feels Petre is in danger. She is right. But can she locate Petre once the revolution is underway and he is suddenly off the grid?
Now this love story evolves into a page-turning political thriller. Even readers who aren’t particularly involved with, or interested in the history of Romania in the late 1980s, when that country rose in revolt against the Ceausescu dictatorship, will be absorbed by Seret’s depiction of the historical events. Needing to be certain of exactly how much of Love Odyssey is fiction, I visited Seret’s website. A page there clarifies any confusion. In the story of the two lovers, Petre is Ceausescu’s private physician. This gives him the freedom few had in the Communist dictatorship, a freedom Petre uses to ultimately help him, his countrymen, and several world leaders overthrow the cruel and greedy dictator. It is Seret’s expertise in writing and films that gives Love Odyssey its cinematic possibilities. This novel would make an excellent movie, one that both enlightens and entertains. Hello, Hollywood!