It is nearly seventeen years since I worked in post-communist Romania, living in Transylvania- the home of ‘Vlad the Impaler’, later to become Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Despite the indelible scars from its bloody history, Romania is a beautiful, dramatic country full of courageous and patriotic people, constantly striving for a better life. The removal of their dictator, Ceausescu was one thing, but with his execution went an infrastructure that despite it’s oppressive nature, held the country together. The old security forces quickly took control and chaos ensued.
The economy collapsed, the factories closed and the country began to literally crumble.
If life was hard for those living in the community, for those incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals it was almost unbearable, and my job, working with a range of well-meaning organisations across Europe, was to try and reduce the terrible abuse of human rights. I am pleased to say that in the past seventeen years great progress has been made.
This is a tribute to a handful of people who have never given up in their belief that it is possible to change the seemingly impossible.
By the end of 1997, Romania was losing significant numbers of its young people. Many went to Hungary, but others took the treacherous and illegal journey further west to the UK, becoming embroiled in a dark, far-reaching and corrupt world, and it is the story of one of these incredible young people I chose to tell.
One reviewer described ‘Bread for the Bourgeoisie’ as ‘a thriller with a heart’. In a way it is a love story about the bonds of family and the lengths people will go to preserve them. I created a character called Marianna Ursu who risks her life to try and rescue her sister trapped in the sex trade in London. I have tried through her journey to capture the beauty of Romania, the harshness of the landscape and the courage and dignity of its people in their quest to rebuild their homeland.
An organisation called ‘The Book Trail’ recently did a lovely review for the book.
On their website they created a ‘trail’ highlighting a number of places across eastern Europe where the action in this novel takes place, including maps and street-level views. If you would like to see this, click on the link and follow the footsteps of Marianna Ursu. http://bit.ly/2cT5n27
I am indebted to Neil White the best-selling crime writer for his endorsement of the book, and unashamedly quote him here.
I hope I have done justice to both the thriller genre, Romania, its struggle and it’s amazing people.
A gripping read… thrilling yet moving, action-packed, but with an eye for the fine detail…a worthy challenger to Tom Rob Smith (Child 44). Highly recommended- Neil White.
Bread for the Bourgeoisie can be bought from Amazon.