Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Marcia Preston's "Trudy's Promise"

Marcia Preston's novels include The Butterfly House, The Piano Man, and the just-released Trudy's Promise.

She applied the "Page 99 Test" to Trudy's Promise and reported the following:
Trudy’s Promise (titled West of the Wall in Great Britain) is set primarily in 1963 Berlin. The story centers on a young mother, Trudy Hulst, who becomes separated from her baby by the Berlin Wall. An East Berlin police official, a dedicated communist, becomes an unexpected ally in her struggle to regain her son.

On page 99, Wolfgang, the East Berlin Vopo, has just learned about the shooting of a teenager who tried to breach the Wall and escape to the West; his body was left hanging in barbed wire while he bled to death. Wolfgang’s childhood friend Rolf, Trudy’s husband, was killed earlier at the Wall. On this page, Wolfgang reflects on his role in these deaths, especially Rolf’s, and feels the weight of his responsibility.

It is early morning, and he’s just sent his lover home before daylight. Weeks ago, she had revealed to him that Rolf was the head of an underground movement that helped East Berliners escape across the Wall. “He lit another Caro and inhaled the caustic smoke. Ironically enough, Nadia had set off the whole chain of events, though she didn’t know it. She wasn’t aware that Wolfgang knew the man she’d offered up to save her brother.”

The passage on page 99 is significant because it marks the beginning of an erosion of Wolfgang’s faith in the Communist leadership of East Germany. Eventually that disillusionment and his innate compassion propel him to a series of dangerous actions to reunite Rolf’s widow with her baby son – west of the Wall.
Read an excerpt from Trudy's Promise, and watch a brief video about the background of the novel.

Learn more about the novel and author at Marcia Preston's website. Preston, writing as M.K. Preston, is also the author of a mystery series featuring Chantalene Morrell, daughter of a Gypsy mother and a redneck father. Song of the Bones won the 2004 Mary Higgins Clark Award for suspense fiction and the 2004 Oklahoma Book Award in fiction. The first book in the series, Perhaps She'll Die, was nominated for the 2002 Mary Higgins Clark Award, and for Macavity and Barry awards in the Best First Mystery division.

--Marshal Zeringue