Book of the Week | Angie's Diary
Edition #68 June 8 - 2014
Book Review

A Sojourn in Hell by Roberta Goodman

Serafina is married to a man she doesn’t love, who’s off fighting in WWII, and is the mother of a daughter. When she discovers the love of her life, her ex-boyfriend Joe, is dying, she contacts him to find out if that was the reason he’d broken up with her five years prior.

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"Higly engaging and emotionally charged!"
There are many things that compel us to pick up a book. For some, it could be for a mental escape. For others it might be for a distraction, but one thing we can all agree on is that we pick up a book for one underlying reason...to have an emotional experience.

Author Roberta Goodman, stands and delivers with her most recent release "A Sojourn In Hell".

Written with a strong and well-crafted narrative, Goodman takes you on a heart wrenching and emotional journey through the 79 year life span of an Italian-American woman, Serafina Conti-Vecchi.

Since Serafina's birth in 1918, she suffered the pain of physical and mental abuse, battled alcoholism, and experienced the trauma of untimely deaths of loved ones. These life experiences molded her into the unique individual that she was, but unfortunately those ill-fated effects didn't stop with Serafina; it impacted generations.

This intimate portrait of Mrs. Vecchi moved me to tears. As much as I would like to touch on each and every point of this novel, I will abstain for fear of spoiling it for future readers.
 Goldilocks

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A SOJOURN IN HELL

Excerpt

Roberta Goodman

She walked home very quickly. The day had seemed to drag on like no other before it. Although she was very nervous, she couldn’t wait to talk to Joe. She wondered how she would deal with hearing his voice again after such a long time. The first thing she did when she got home was run to the phone. Her hands shook as she dialed his number. Her heart raced as it began to ring. After another five rings...
“Hello.”
He sounded exactly the way she’d remembered. He’d answered the phone speaking in broken English. Answering in Italian, she told him who it was.
“Hi Joe—its Serafina.”
Silence followed for several seconds as the shock of hearing her voice again seeped into his brain. He answered in English.
“How did you get my phone number?”
Answering him back in English, she said, “I saw Ava today and she gave it to me. She came to visit me at the bakery. I still work there. I asked her for your phone number, because I wanted to talk to you. I thought it would be nice to see what you’ve been up to the past few years.”
She had lied so he wouldn’t get angry at his cousin.
“So, how’ve you been?”
He said, “I’m doing great. How 'bout you?”
She was unable to control herself after hearing him lie. Even though it might make him hang up, she spoke up.
“Don’t lie to me! You’ve already done that when you pushed me away! I know you’re sick, and I need to know the truth about our breakup!”
He remained silent, while she waited for him to tell her. After about a minute, she spoke again. She already knew the answer but wanted to hear it from him.
“I’m entitled to know if the fact you’re sick made you break up with me.”
In a barely audible voice, he whispered “Yes.”
She started to cry. Flashbacks of the both of them together in happier times went through her mind as well as the day he’d broken up with her.
“Why didn’t you tell me? We could have been together for the past four and a half years. I wouldn’t have left you. I could have been taking care of you this whole time.”
“I know you wouldn’t have left; that’s why I didn’t tell you. When they diagnosed me they hadn’t expected me to live as long as I have. I’m considered somewhat of a miracle. There’s no cure, Sera—I loved you so much—I couldn’t let you be a witness to my demise. I realized I was going to die. You were so young— you needed to find someone to build a life with.
Not sit, wait, and suffer while I slowly died.”
While it was an unselfish act on his part it was also one he had regretted, because he had missed her so much.
Now that they were speaking again, he felt like a piece of his heart was back where it belonged.

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Author Bio

Roberta Goodman grew up in Philadelphia. As a stay-at-home mom of two children, she discovered her creativity could be expressed through the written word when she embarked on writing her first manuscript.

Her memoir Persevering through the Unforeseen: One Couple's Experience Conquering Testicular Cancer was written in 2011 and updated in 2013. It chronicles her husband's battle with Testicular Cancer and is her third published book.

The murder mystery/thriller Snow Escape was released in October 2011 and is her first published novel.

Roberta Goodman

Her tragic romance/family saga A Sojourn in Hell was the first manuscript she wrote in 2009 and later revised in 2012. It was released in June 2013 and is her second published novel.

Roberta and her family reside in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

 

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