by Traci L. Slatton
Parvati Press

"I come from a world of light, to which I will never return."

Broken is the story of an angel's journey when she chooses to take on human form during one of the most prolific yet horrendous periods in France's history. Assuming the life of a poet under the name Alia Mercer, she claims that she is "an angel who threw herself away" so she could satisfy the lusts of the flesh. Aware that evil is about to overtake Paris and the Jewish race, the archangel Michael reminds her that she is an angel who just "lost her way" and has at her disposal one act of grace. It is up to Alia whether she will use this powerful healing moment or not.

Multi-novelist Slatton, has created a riveting story set within a dystopian society. Entering the earthly realm in Paris during the summer of 1939, Alia narrates her new life encircled by friends who are among the Golden Age "free thinkers" of existentialism and surrealism. Slatton incorporates into her storyline a rich host of notables that once frequented the cafes and bars of the Montparnasse district—such as writers Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, and artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, to name a few.

Aside of Alia, Slatton focuses her characters on Alia's closest acquaintances that have Jewish backgrounds—Pedro and Josef (her choice of lovers), Josef's sister Suzanne and her daughter Cecile. Slatton's use of contrast includes a complex mix of Alia's graphic love jaunts and the lively parties with her elite friends that are often juxtaposed with the realities of impending war and genocide. In particular, Slatton's contrast between Alia's selfish thoughts and Cecile's innocence are poignant, especially when Alia makes desperate attempts to protect her Jewish friends against Hitler's enforcement to collect Jews. A wonderful balance of characters, history, and religious thought, Broken is earmarked to be an epic dystopian novel.

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