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To See God Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Tuesday, February 7, 2023

 

Author:Bruce J. Berger

Publisher:Black Rose Writing

ISBN:978-1-68513-157-9

In To See God, BruceJ. Berger writes convincingly with impressive depth and feeling abouta group of characters whose complex stories become intertwined.

A good part of thenarrative centers on a Greek Orthodox nun, Theodora, who was savedfrom death by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Theodora was born Jewishin Salonika. She firmly believes Theotokos (Mary, mother of Jesus)saved her when she was six and later led her to the Greek HolyMonastery of St. Vlassios.

It is here where she israised to grow into a pious nun, accepting the teachings of the GreekOrthodox Church. 

Theodora feels guiltyabout her past and continually asks Jesus to forgive her for hersins.

Her mother, father, andsister had all perished during the Holocaust, leaving as lonesurvivors herself and her brother, Nicky Covo, an AmericanPsychiatrist.

She and her brother,Nicky, were separated for 40 years and are reunited when he visitsher at the Monastery with his girlfriend, Helen Blanco, a devoutJewess.

Nicky contends with hisown guilt and has lost faith, while Theodora believes that if hereturns to the Monastery, he will remember his faithfulness. 

In a letter to Theodora,Nicky reveals there was a man he fought with during the war. His warname was Churchill, whom he had seen anew in Athens one week beforehe visited her at the Monastery. The man pursued Nicky and Helenaround Greece and continued to follow him to the USA. He confesses hehas deceived Helen about his encounter with Churchill. She believesit is a figment of his imagination.

The story also followsNicky’s children, Max, and Kayla, as they deal with their ownpersonal conflicts. Max’s wife, Cathy, deserted him for anotherman, taking his two youngsters with her. Two months later, his sisterKayla moved into his home with her four-year-old bi-racial son,Jackie. 

Kayla, an accomplishedpianist, has schizophrenia and almost kills her son Jackie when shegoes off her medication. At sixteen, Kayla had been seduced by AugustSorel, a musician, who deserted her and Jackie and was never part oftheir lives. Sorel shows up one day and petitions for child custody. 

Max loves Jackie and wouldnever mistreat him. Sadly, the two become embroiled in a tussle,causing Jackie to clam up and refuse to communicate verbally withanyone. Jackie believes “the whole world was a cold dark cloudsurrounding him, shutting out not only the sunlight but the air heneeded to breathe.” 

Theodora is convinced thatJackie is the second coming of Jesus Christ, even though her trustedMother Superior, Fevronia, tries to persuade her otherwise. Shepersuades Fevronia to travel to the USA to meet with Jackie and helphim recognize his identity. Reluctantly, Fevronia agrees toTheodora’s request, and the two ultimately meet with Nicky, Helen,Jackie, Max, and Kayla in the USA, where we read about severalsearing family dramas. 

The tale is revealedthrough first-person accounts of each character’s hauntingconflicts and anxieties, culminating in diverse perspectives ofvarious events. All have adjustments to make and responsibilities tobear or share. The reader is provided with an intimate picture oflives that never seem less than genuine.

Berger’s talents lieless in plotting than in creating a moving and sensitive tale withgreat respect for one’s religious beliefs. The story is enhancedwith Berger’s rich and illuminating knowledge of the world ofJudaism and Christianity sprinkled throughout. Some of thesetheological overtones will delight believers and perhaps makenon-believers pause.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
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Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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