Monday, 10 June 2013

'Anca's Story' by Seffina Desforges

'Anca's Story' by Seffina Desforges.  This is a story of the Holocaust of World War 2.

 The blurb:

Dare you read Anca's Story?

Three young children smuggle themselves into Auschwitz in search for their parents.

If you're looking for werewolves, vampires and faeries and paranormal fantasy, try somewhere else. The only wolf in this story is very real, and the only connection with vampires is the distant Transylvanian mountains in Romania, where this story begins.

If you're looking for light-reading where they all live happily ever after then again, try somewhere else.

If you want serious, no-holds-barred literary fiction set against the background of real historic events, then this is for you.

Saffina Desforges made her name writing hard-hitting crime fiction.

This book is about that most horrific crime of all: genocide.

Some reviews: 

Format:Kindle Edition

After just finishing Anca's story, I am sat heartbroken, not because this story is real, it is of course fiction, but for the fact that the Holocaust happened. This is a story of determination, courage and love of 3 children from 2 different backgrounds, although the story is fiction the Holocaust wasn't, and to read about it and the suffering that happened to many was heart wrenching. The book is beautifully written, with extremely likeable characters. It is not a book I would normally choose but I have been blown away by how powerful a story it is. Well done Saffina Desforges... as I said before... Blown away.


By Ginnette Hargreaves-Lees (Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom) -

 Ought to be compulsory reading in schools.
The book opens with the Survivor being mocked by an uninterested young person, but as Anca tells her story, respect for her incredible survival and moving on, after the war, is felt.
Movingly told.'

My review:  5 stars

A fictional story about a real and terrible event - an event that seems too awful to be true and yet it is.

Anca is 12, her brother, Nicholae, is 6. Elone is 9. The children were separated from their parents on the way to a labour camp (actually Auschwitz, a death camp) and were left to cope alone. Elone and her family were Jews, though Anca's family was not. It was not only Jews that wound up in the Nazi death camps.

I do have criticisms of this story - that the language was often unnatural, and the author has a liking for obscure words - words that are not even in a normal size dictionary. For instance: a ‘bicephalous moon’ and 'I crawled reptant.’  Unnatural language: for instance: 'as they partook their evening repast’ instead of ‘as they ate dinner'  and  ‘we were soon benighted’ instead of ‘night came.’  

I wonder if English is a second language for the author, as the English is totally accurate, but in a way that a native to the language is unlikely to use.

My other criticism was that it was farfetched, the events unlikely in the extreme. Anca was twice rescued in the nick of time, just when she was being killed?  And her utter stupidity when she voluntarily entered a 'labour camp' even after witnessing a mass murder of Jews. 

But that part can be partially explained - there were so few who survived the Holocaust, and each survivor's story is probably just as unlikely.

But still - 5 stars. This was an incredible story that kept my interest from start to finish. It brought history to life. This is a very good book. I recommend it.

From the author (actually one of the author partnership known as Seffina Desforges)

Anca's Story was written with the imminent WWII anniversaries in mind. 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of WWII in 2015, and the 75th anniversary in 2020. Not for commercial reasons (we really didn't expect this to sell anywhere near as well as it has) but because these anniversaries will be the last major commemorations when there will still be people alive who lived through the events, hence the choice to have Anca herself narrate the story. The title itself was deliberately low key, and we opted not to make the main character a Jew to remind everyone the Holocaust was much more than just anti-Semitism gone mad. although of course the wonderful Elone is there to make sure that side of the story is heard.

In answer to my criticism of the unnatural language:  The choice was deliberate. The narrator, Anca, is very much an English as second language person. There were probably very few native-English speakers in the concentration camps, and Anca's generation would have learned and spoken English in such a fashion

For the author's profile, and details of other books, follow the link below/



Other books by Selfina Desforges:

Saffina Desforges took the British Kindle market by storm with their debut, controversial psycho-sexual thriller, 'Sugar & Spice'.

'Sugar & Spice' is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and itunes, Waterstones and Tescoebooks, as well as Scrollmotion, Diesel and Kobo.

The paperback version of 'Sugar & Spice' is also available on Amazon in English and French.

It has sold close to a quarter of a million copies.
'Sugar & Spice' is set across the UK, against the background of Britain's fragmented criminal justice system, with the key protagonists the mother and partner of a murdered child.


Look for my books on Smashwords, on Amazon or on other online retailers. 



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