Love Odyssey

Fiction - Historical - Personage
254 Pages
Reviewed on 02/11/2024
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    Book Review

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!

Christian Sia

Love Odyssey by Roberta Seret is a beautiful story with strong political and historical underpinnings, set in the '70s. The story follows Anca Rodescu, an activist and doctor who is deeply in love as she flees from the communist terror in Romania. In America, while pregnant, she is abandoned by the man she loves. After nineteen years, fate puts her back on the path of the man from her past, the man she believed she would never see again. Can she save him and can the love that was once lost be found in another time and place?

Roberta Seret is a great storyteller and she not only writes believable and compelling characters, but she fashions them from the midst of chaos, allowing the elements of the setting to reflect in their choices. The story begins with intriguing questions on love and quickly features the setting against which it takes place. I marveled at the author’s ability to paint beautiful images in the minds of readers, like the days of yellow leaves turned to smoky evenings. The prose is not just crisp and gorgeous, it has a beauty of its own. This is a novel that explores a woman’s experience of love against a repressive political backdrop, and the author writes about the characteristics of the communist regime with clarity while demonstrating how it breaks those caught in its tide. Love Odyssey has insightful lessons on the power of love. The characters are well-developed and the plot is an exciting journey for readers.