Thursday, July 13, 2023

#Bookreview of Never to Forget: The Promise of Love

Never to Forget: The Promise of Love

By: Carlos Alvarado
Publisher: Determined2 Publishing
Publication Date: August 15, 2022
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: July 11, 2023
In this intelligently, intuitively conceived work, author Carlos Alvarado interweaves the chronicle of a strong, seemingly indomitable fantasy female with the true saga of his mother, whose pangs, exploits, and loves carved her extraordinary path and clearly influenced the life direction her son would take.
The book’s central character is Bertha, born Bertelina Solis in Costa Rico. Raised in an atmosphere of familial stress, rural poverty, back-breaking work, and the shadow of world war that affected her country directly, Bertelina will not accept her mother’s admonition that “girls can’t be soldiers.” Her determination to fight like a man will be influenced by policies and events arising from World War II and come to reality during her nation’s civil war when, with other strong-minded young women, she would work as a spy and at one point, don a uniform and carry a gun. Later she seeks a husband, using feminine wiles to find Oscar, a man willing to make a true commitment to fatherhood, if not to faithfulness. At one point, Bertelina confides to a friend, “For the sake of my children, I can’t stall by brooding…” as she begins to plot a way out and upward. A move to California with her five children, with a scant $100 to begin their new life, gives further proof of her determination to succeed against any odds and her dedication to the finer concepts of motherhood. This quality will begin to fracture, though, when in older age her once indomitable mentality is beset by forgetfulness, anger and the inability, finally, to recognize her now-grown offspring, three of whom live close by and will start to look after her as she once looked after them. Her daughter Maria will in fact compose a story of her mother’s life and courage…and Bertha will listen, wondering why the central character in Maria’s story seems so familiar.
Much as Maria’s story is melded with her mother’s fading cognizance, so too, Alvarado’s novel is a fact and fiction mix about Bertelina/Bertha, based on personal memories and the bits of real history he was able to piece together. Retired from a medical career and drawn to writing from an early age, this is Alvarado’s third book. It is enhanced with Spanish phrases (all translated), historical notes, and what could be seen as Latino thought processes, giving insight into Bertha’s adventures and the people in her long life within and outside her birth culture. With this lovingly conceived tribute, Alvarado guarantees that his mother’s promise of protection for her children has been amply appreciated and, with and within the book that encompasses her life story, graciously repaid.
Quill says: Carlos Alvarado’s Never to Forget is a brilliant mixture that will appeal to a broad readership with Spanish-based origins, and to any reader who enjoys a gripping, action-filled tale that crosses multiple barriers of nationality, language, and the universal aspiration for true freedom.
For more information on Never to Forget: The Promise of Love, please visit the author's website at:

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