Alfred J. Garrotto In the mid-1970s, idealistic Leah Sinclair was passionate about her volunteer work on the Caribbean island of Santo Sangre. Javier de Córdova was a handsome aristocrat, equally dedicated to his ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Working side by side drew Leah and Javier into a forbidden love. Tension built as they struggled to remain faithful to their work among the poor of the island--and finally go their separate ways.
Fourteen years later, Leah is USA director of a human rights organization that is actively protesting and lobbying against Santo Sangre's abominable human rights record. She is also a young widow with two children on the brink of adolescence.
Destiny brings Leah and Javier together again when Santo Sangre's vengeful dictator lures the priest into a devious diplomatic mission to meet with rights organizations' leaders and plead his country's case. Javier agrees to represent this man he hates because it will give him one last opportunity to see the woman he once loved. He will finally admit to Leah that he made a terrible mistake in rejecting her love.
After stops in Rome and Amsterdam, Javier arrives in San Francisco. Unknown to him, Montenegro's chief assassin has trailed him across Europe murdering the children of the leaders Javier has visited. During Leah and Javier's brief reunion, they discover that he has led the killer to her doorstep and that her son is targeted for murder. To their mutual surprise, confusion, and delight, Leah and Javier find that the love they once shared burns with as much passion as it did before. They pool their meager resources to avert what seems like an unstoppable murder. Putting their trust, love, and lives on the line, they confront the danger--together.
The climax takes place in the High Sierras during Thanksgiving Week. The assassin has captured Leah and her children and is holding them inside her isolated mountain cabin. Javier arrives to rescue the Bartons but is overpowered and likewise taken captive. When Leah's son Teddy makes a foolish attempt to protect his mother from the assassin, he is shot in the head. Javier takes advantage of the distraction to attack the killer. Leah hears a gunshot and a man's footsteps coming toward her across the deck. She prepares to die, but it is Javier. The discharge of the gun killed the assassin. Javier tells her Teddy's wound isn't life-threatening and they must get him to a hospital.
In the aftermath of the incident, Javier is cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of the foreigner. Disgraced by exposure of his evil plot, President Montenegro of Santo Sangre frees all political prisoners on Christmas Day and resigns from office. Javier takes up residence with Leah's family, and they announce to the children their intention to marry and begin a new life.
Alfred J. Garrotto What can a 21st century seeker learn about life, love and spirituality from a 19th century French novel? Plenty.
Alfred J. Garrotto offers Victor Hugo’s flawed protagonist as a model for anyone in search of practical wisdom for everyday living. One of fiction’s most beloved characters, the former convict and life-long fugitive represents humanity in both its brokenness and its potential for selfless—even saintly—living.
Reflection topics range from forgiveness and the primacy of conscience to the joys and sorrows of parenthood. Each Reflection explores a universal theme, including the daily call to spiritual and moral conversion and the life-lessons parents impart to their children. Questions at the end of each Reflection invite you to use the book as your personal wisdom journal.
Alfred J. Garrotto Dominic looks into the night sky and sees a twinkling star. "I wish I could touch that star," he tells his Mommy. But she says, "I know, but you are just too little." Or is he? (Ages 2-4)
Alfred J. Garrotto Mother Marie-Thérèse is the surviving victim of one of Belgium’s most notorious crimes, involving kidnap, rape, prolonged torture, and finally murder—all of which took place in enchanting, picturesque Bruges, Venice of the North. Her co-victim, an American priest, Father Thomas Jensen, did not survive. Although his remains were never found, Piet Van Kampen confessed to killing the priest, for which he received a sentence of life without parole.
Twenty years later, on the day after the convicted killer's death, Célèste De Smet, a journalist for LeSoir.be, draws a career-making assignment, an exclusive interview with the nun. Reeling from the day-old breakup of a long-term relationship, Célèste arrives at the motherhouse of the Servant Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Florenville, a town in Southeastern Belgium. She expects to spend a single afternoon with the nun and be on her way back to the capital. Mother Marie-Therese (Tesse) has a different plan. She bargains with Celeste for an exchange of life experiences, Célèste’s for hers—in that order. Taken aback by this unexpected request and a possible delay in her return to Brussels, Célèste weighs her options. She chooses the interview's career potential over her reluctance to open her life to this stranger.
Thus begins a cycle of deeply personal revelations that will occupy the two women for several days. Célèste outlines her youth and upbringing, including a secret vow made to God and broken. In return, Tesse responds to the reporter’s opening query, how she and Fr. Jensen happened to be in Bruges together on the day of the kidnapping. Tesse then gets Célèste to discuss an unresolved adolescent trauma. The reporter has carried the guilt and shame of being responsible for her missionary priest-uncle's leaving the active ministry and marrying an African woman who was pregnant with his child. Célèste has never spoken of the triggering incidents that occurred when the priest was visiting the family. In return, Tesse relates details of her and Tom’s captivity, including repeated druggings and sexual abuse.
Sensing that Célèste had yet another secret to tell, Tesse coaxes her to share the matter of her broken vow, using as bait the promise that she still has one final piece to her own story to tell. Unable to resist being privy to the conclusion of the Tesse and Tom story, Célèste agrees. But she is unprepared for the shock of Tesse’s final revelation. Having received the information, the young reporter fears that curiosity might have involved her in an ongoing crime that could cause her to lose everything.
Alfred J. Garrotto What can a modern seeker learn about life and love from an old French novel Plenty! Jean Valjean represents humanity in its brokenness and potential for selfless living. Through a set of Reflections, I offer Hugo's flawed protagonist as a model for anyone in search of wisdom. Each explores a universal theme. Questions invite you to use the book as your personal wisdom journal. The inspiration for this book came in the early 1990s, as I wept through the final scene of the musical, Les Miserables. From its darkened perch in the balcony, my heart flew to the bedside of the dying Jean Valjean. He had moved me with his tale of conversion and forgiveness. I wanted to be at his side as he uttered those final words 'To love one another is to see the face of God.' From beginning, my goal has been to help the reader awaken memories, explore personal feelings, and gain insight through reflection on Victor Hugo's text.
Alfred J. Garrotto Relief pitcher Jack Thorne stares at his catcher’s target. His single focus is to get this batter out. If he does, a coveted World Series ring will be his. But the Universe has a different plan for this Catholic priest-turned-ballplayer. There’s More is a creative imagining of the ultimate human mysteries—death and Afterlife. This gripping story challenges readers to expand their existing concepts and consider broader cosmic possibilities in answer to the universal question, “What’s next?”
A bat. A ball. A swing. A bullet. A death. A guide. A life. A bat—black-varnished, rays of setting sun splintering north, south, east, west, until tension-stilled, at the ready A ball—virginal white, never pitched, nor struck; rocketing from hurler’s hand A swing—fluid, potent contact, ball arrowing moundward A bullet—fired in revenge, racing ball to target A death.—accident? murder? projectiles: dual protagonists in this drama; the pitcher falls, forehead concaved, a blackening hole deep at crater ’s base A guide—sent to assist at this unexpected crossing-over A life—“There’s more . . . ”
Alfred J. Garrotto On a tip from a stranger, international supermodel Natalia McCrory travels for the first time to her native Peru to meet a woman who might be her birth mother. Not only are mother and daughter reunited, but Natalia learns that her adoptive father is also her biological father.
The discovery that the father she adores has perpetrated a twenty-five-year deception against his wife and daughter. He has also deprived his Peruvian lover of all contact with or knowledge of her child. Filled with rage and shame, Natalia resolves to expose her father's lie. Yet, she faces a personal dilemma. The revelation might destroy her adoptive parents' marriage and cause her to lose the only family she has ever known.
Concurrently, a life-change is taking place deep within Natalia's spirit, radically shifting her life and career priorities. That transformation draws her back to Peru on a personal mission to serve the impoverished children of her native country, in gratitude for the life and opportunities her adoption has given her.
Alfred J. Garrotto Former international model Natalia Edgerly and her husband Arlo have relocated from the United States to Lima, Peru. She now works at the same Catholic orphanage from which she was adopted as an infant. Although childless, she experiences a maternal awakening when ten-year-old Marisol Lagos, is abandoned at the orphanage gate. Marisol and fellow orphan Juan Alfonso de San Miguel become inseparable--childhood friends on the road to becoming lovers.
Natalia's widowed father, Roger McCrory, returns to Peru after 30 years in search of Rosaria Colomé, his former lover--and Natalia's birth mother. Natalia vows to keep them apart. But, Roger finds Rosaria, and together they test their reawakened feelings. Has the great, but adulterous, love of their youth survived the decades to allow them a second chance? Marisol's mother, Peru's most wanted public enemy, resurfaces and demands that Natalia return her daughter, now 16. This sets in motion a chain of tragic events. Natalia's love and courage are challenged to the limit, when one member of her inner circle of loved ones goes to prison.
Alfred J. Garrotto “The Soul of Art" offers a thoughtful, spiritual approach to human creativity, especially as broadly expressed in "the arts." Topics stem from the author's belief that all creative gifts spring from a higher, divine source, whom he calls "Creator-Spirit." Artists of all genres are invited acknowledge their gifts, their true source, and their role in the furthering creative processes of the universe. Thoughout, artists are called to serve humanity's greater good by sharing their gifts and thereby making our common habitat a better, more beautiful place for all to live in. Well-selected and eclectic quotes support the case for the high calling of gifted people. Lined workbook pages allow the reader to contemplate insightful and challenging questions related to their personal gifts and their mission as artists. This is a book to be treasured by all artists. It is also a perfect gift for all those creative people in your life.