Noémie's Journey


Fiction - Cultural
318 Pages
Reviewed on 09/08/2018
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Author Biography

Victoria Saccenti picked up pencil and paper the moment her childhood book heroes started conversing with her. Sounds a little crazy, but there’s no rhyme or reason for inspiration. Back then, she wrote one-act plays and short fairy tales for simple amusement. Today—many…many moons later—her playful stories have grown into family sagas and retro and contemporary romances with an edge. An avid people watcher, she explores in her novels the twists and turns of human interaction, the many facets of love, and all possible happy endings.
Victoria lived overseas and traveled the world for thirty years, and she brings that experience and sense of adventure to her stories. She enjoys taking her reader on a private journey from America to Europe to Southeast Asia and back around.
Central Florida is home. She splits her busy schedule between family and her active muse at Essence Publishing. But if she could convince her husband to sell their home, she would pack up her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

When Richard Winters points his Harley away from New York and heads south, looking for peace and a release from the memories of a devastating love affair, he wants nothing more than solitude and an opportunity to find himself again. The small town of Summitville in North Carolina where nobody knows him seems a great place to start again. What he doesn’t count on, though, is meeting the beautiful and desirable young Creole woman by the name of Noémie, whose desirability he must fight if he truly is to fulfill his promise to himself of no romantic entanglements. Set in the mid-sixties, against the background of the Civil Rights Movement, Noémie’s Journey by Victoria Saccenti explores the reality of life for a beautiful coloured woman in the South. Laws may have changed, but attitudes will take generations to change. Richard, a Yankee from up north, has no perception of what an interracial relationship will entail in North Carolina in the sixties, but Noémie knows well the ingrained racism of her fellow residents that she deals with every single day of her life.

Noémie’s Journey serves to remind us just how far we have come in the forty years in race relations, but equally it also makes us examine our feelings toward people who are different to us, today a touchstone for American society as much now as it ever has been. Author Victoria Saccenti does a superb job of highlighting the institutional and deep racism that was just below the surface of civil society, especially in the South, in those turbulent years of the mid to late sixties. At its heart this book is a love story and a beautiful one at that. I particularly loved the author’s ability to convey the depth of love and the power of their passion in her words without ever having to resort to crudity or erotica. As a reader, I felt the build-up of sexual tension and reveled in the “when will they”, just as much as the participants. This is a real fillip to the author and it is what makes this book so very readable and one of the best of its genre. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it to all readers who like a true romance, but also enjoy a bit of action and thoughtful social comment.

K.C. Finn

Noémie's Journey is a sweeping work of dramatic fiction by author Victoria Saccenti. Set in North Carolina, USA in the 1960s, the plot follows the lives of its two protagonists in a tense world of racial and cultural clashes. Noémie Bellerose lives as something lesser, the way she’s treated by the white people of her hometown of Summitville makes her feel like the change she’s heard of is never going to come. So when the rebellious and intriguing Richard Winters rocks into town on his motorbike, Noémie knows there’s no way in the world she could even dream of a relationship with him. But Richard’s attraction for her is just as strong, pulling them together in a world that wants them apart.

The cultural issues surrounding this time period in the USA are really fascinating and Victoria Saccenti deals with them beautifully during the dramatic journey of her novel. Whilst much of the plot reads pleasingly in the same style as the popular classic romances that are big sellers today, the interracial nature of Noémie and Richard’s relationship causes them heartbreaking problems where there really shouldn’t be any. The pressure on them is grueling to read and it truly makes the reader root for them even more, seeking happiness despite hatred. Romance fans will get a more involved read than usual with Noémie's cultural intelligence in place, providing a deeply emotional tale with many twists and turns. Overall, I’d highly recommend Noémie’s Journey to fans of romance seeking a new and accomplished author to love.

Maria Beltran

Noémie's Journey by Victoria Saccenti is an inspiring love story between two extraordinary people. Richard Winters is a handsome and successful young man from New York but today his life is upside down. Determined to leave everything behind, he sells his business and drives his motorcycle to an unknown destination. Noémie Bellerose, on the other hand, is an attractive and intelligent coloured woman. It is the late sixties and in North Carolina, where she lives, she is a second class citizen, but she is determined to finish college and provide a better life to her younger brother, Gerry. And then their paths meet and sparks fly but their journey is lined with thorns and obstacles.

Victoria Saccenti's novel, Noémie's Journey, is not your usual love story. Richard Winters and Noémie Bellerose are divided by a racial fence and when they meet, they certainly are not looking for love. However, a chance meeting in Summitville, North Carolina, between the new bartender in town and the woman with haunting green eyes will change both their lives forever. Author Victoria Saccenti is a master storyteller and she certainly knows how to hold her reader's undivided attention by giving life to a number of interesting characters and weaving all their lives together into an exciting tapestry. The result is a beautiful and entertaining love story that has to stand the test of time. Can Richard and Noémie bridge the circumstances and the people that are trying hard to tear them apart?