Welcome to Litfuse Publicity’s Blog Tour for Remembering You
Ava is hanging on by a thread. Nothing seems to be going right at work lately and she is concerned about keeping her job as the producer of a popular morning news and variety television program in Seattle. She remains lonely and heartbroken a few months after Jay, her fiancee, suddenly called off their wedding in a brutally cold manner, leaving Ava wondering what went wrong. She is stuck making payments on the condominium they purchased together that are beyond her means.
To top it all off, her mother calls to announce that she fell and broke her leg, leaving her unable to accompany Ava’s grandfather on his much-anticipated trip to Europe. Grandpa Jack never misses the reunions with his fellow soldiers. But at eighty-four years of age, the World War II veteran simply isn’t capable of touring the battle sites without assistance. And the upcoming trip is very special because it will conclude at the German concentration camp where he helped liberate thousands of prisoners where Grandpa Jack and the others will be honored for their bravery and heroism.
Ava decides to combine business and pleasure. After all, viewers will love hearing her grandfather’s stories about his war experiences. She sells the idea to her bosses: She will accompany Grandpa Jack, videotaping segments for the show along the way.
Just as everything seems to be falling into place, Ava and her grandfather are reunited on the trip with Grandpa Jack’s best friend, Grand-Paul, and Dennis, his grandson with whom Ava shared a teenage romance fifteen years ago that ended badly. Worse, upon arriving in Europe, they learn that the self-employed tour guide was injured and will be unable to lead the tour as planned. Rather than remain with the group, the four of them strike out on their own to see all the originally scheduled destinations. Her grandfather is reluctant to speak on camera and Dennis accuses her of exploiting their grandfathers’ war experiences for the sake of entertainment and her career.
Ava is not prepared for all the discoveries she will make on the most momentous trip of her life.
Like many war veterans, Grandpa Jack likes to tell some stories about his experiences but as Ava embarks upon a life-changing return to the places where he fought back Nazis during World War II en route to liberating the concentration camp situated in Mauthausen, a small village in Austria, she discovers that her grandfather has long kept his own counsel about certain aspects of his military service. Grandpa Jack, now an eighty-four-year-old widower, seeks to find peace by visiting the places where certain unforgettable events occurred in 1945. Just nineteen at the time, Jack only shared the details with his parents, late wife, and best friend and fellow soldier, Paul. Ava knows that her grandfather is having trouble opening up to her, but she wants to know and understand him better.
She also wants to know and understand herself better. When Jay suddenly called off their impending wedding, he shattered Ava’s self-confidence. Now she is distrustful and unwilling to risk being deeply hurt again. When her self-esteem plummeted, so did her career success. And even as she struggles to regain her footing, Jay reappears, further complicating her life.
Author Tricia Goyer was inspired to pen Remembering You when she visited Austria and toured Mauthausen. She connected with some of the first American soldiers to arrive at the camp and liberated the prisoners, members of the 41st Cavalry Recon Squadron, Eleventh Armored Division, Patton’s Third U.S. Army. She also met a remarkable woman named Hana who was only three weeks only when the Americans broke through Nazi lines. One medic tenderly cared for her and ensured that she received the medical care she desperately needed. Hana wanted to meet that individual and thank him in person. Goyer’s research made that reunion possible and serves as the basis for one of the major storylines in Remembering You.
As with her other works of historical fiction, Goyer infuses her story with tenderness, compassion, and an appreciation of historical context. She also weaves the topic of faith into the action without taking a preachy tone. On the contrary, the two key characters, Ava and Grandpa Jack, are both people with strong beliefs who have sometimes felt forsaken and abandoned, causing them to question whether their life plan and goals. While Ava is young and ambitious, her idealism has been dampened by Jay’s inexplicably mean-spirited rejection. Her story is juxtaposed against that of her grandfather having carried the memories and guilt associated with his World War II experiences, silently suffering even though he notes that he starts each day knowing he has been forgiven, for so many years. As the story progresses, the two characters reach greater understandings of forgiveness, solitude, and one’s purpose in life. For Ava, her revelations open the door to a bright new future while Grandpa Jack achieves the closure he has craved since the war ended and he returned home.
What is remarkable about Remembering You and will endear readers to the story is the loving relationship between Ava and her grandfather. Even though they have not always seen eye to eye, they care for each other unconditionally. In Goyer’s capable hands Ava matures as her appreciation for her grandfather deepens throughout their European tour, and she develops a new appreciation for not only Grandpa Jack, but “The Greatest Generation” and their sacrifices on behalf of their country. The result is an insightful, touching, and entertaining tale about family members from different generations who learn that they have more in common than they ever would have imagined.