Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Excerpt –The Last Daughter of Prussia

  Thank you all for the comments and encouragement regarding The Last Daughter of Prussia. I am SO looking forward to holding the finished product in my hands! (Next spring, Yay!) Though still in the throes of editing, I'm finding it is an interesting process. To look at every comma and quotation mark and wonder -  are they placed properly? To mull over each word and ask myself - is it necessary? It feels like an never-ending work in progress, yet one day I know I'll get there. 

  Many of you have said you enjoyed the last little excerpt and so as promised I'm posting another one. In this chapter my heroine Manya rides to the Roma gypsy camp to see her best friend Joshi and his mother Vavara. This scene happens just before tragedy strikes the Roma clan.

  I know you understand that these excerpts are always a little out of context as I take them from different chapters. All the same I hope they give you a sense of what the book is about without divulging too much because I really want you to read the entire novel when it comes out next year.

My grandmother Edith von Sanden with the old gypsy woman Frau Florian
who lived on the Eulen Hof - Owl Farm mentioned below in my excerpt
 from  The Last Daughter of Prussia.
The Eulen Hof was near Guja, East Prussia and the Roma gypsies lived there.
The SS drafted Frau Florian's sons into the army even though at that time
most Roma gypsies were persecuted and sent to concentration camps..
All of her sons - I believe there were five - died fighting on the Eastern Front.
Frau Florian could not understand war. She said gypsies never want to fight.
She asked my grandmother,
"Why? Why if we gypsies are so hated by the Nazis, do they take my sons and make them fight for Germany?"
(c) Photo Gottlieb Property-Familienbesitz Gottlieb

  Snow rose in powdery gusts under Aztec's hooves, filling the air around them with glittering flakes. They cantered past the Guja forest that was draped in strings of icy pearls, leaving behind the tiny hamlets of five or six cottages where fishermen’s nets still hung in the frozen gardens. A few lonely dogs barked in the doorways.

My grandfather Walter von Sanden in Guja, East Prussia before WW2
with the long poles that  he used to set his fishing nets in the lakes and the Angerapp River.
(c) Photo Gottlieb Property-Familienbesitz Gottlieb

  After a thirty-five minute ride, Manya saw thin scarves of smoke rising from the Karas camp. She slowed Aztec to a trot and turned onto a trail running along the Angerapp River. Up ahead in the river bend two women in wide flowered skirts were scrubbing sheets in a big metal tub. They both wore yellow headscarves, but the older woman managed to keep a pipe between her teeth even while she worked. They waved at her, their bare hands chaffed and red from the cold. She wondered briefly if she would ever see them like that again. 

A gypsy woman who like Frau Florian used to visit my grandmother.
I don't know her name but her face is unforgettable..
(c) Photo Gottlieb Property-Familienbesitz Gottlieb

In the weeds to her right, an empty beer keg lay on its side. The words Eulen Hof – Owl Farm had been painted on its circular belly. It marked the entrance to the settlement. The familiar smells of wood smoke, wild garlic and herbs drew her forward. She’d never been to the camp when there wasn’t a pot of stew on the stove.
  Near the edge of the encampment, she caught sight of a sturdy mare, with gorgeous tufts on her lower legs. The mare snorted.
  “You’re a good guard dog, Tsura,” laughed Manya.

I don't have a photo of Tsura, the loyal, devoted gypsy mare.
However , this mare has a lovely face, so sweet and gentle
and she lived during that time in East Prussia.
She's a good stand-in, I think.
(c) Photo Gottlieb Property-Familienbesitz Gottlieb

  Within seconds, a young man waved from behind an upturned cart, the large metal cufflinks in his jacket sparkling in the sunlight.
  “Hello Harman,” she smiled.
  “Mistress von Falken,” he called to her teasingly. “Is it Big Man Karas’s son, Joshi, who brings you here? Or is it his wife?”
  Hearing Joshi's name, Manya blushed.
  “His wife, sir,” she replied quickly, relieved to see Vavara’s curvy figure coming down the muddy path.

See you next time. As always, thanks for visiting this blog.
– Marina Gottlieb Sarles

(c) All content and photos are the private property of the Gottlieb family, unless otherwise stated or linked,  and may not be used without permission.
(c) Privatbesitz Gottlieb Familie

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