SUMMARY: LOVE ODYSSEY
AUTHOR: Roberta Seret, Ph.D.
Love Odyssey takes place twenty- four years after The Gift of Diamonds, when the same characters reappear and continue to fight for their ideals. Fiction and history are interwoven to recreate the last three weeks of Romania’s communist regime in December 1989. The political background of the narrative offers details that have never been exposed before in a novel.
Love Odyssey reflects several literary genres. It is historical fiction as well as a spy thriller that is based on true events and real personages. It is a portrait of Communism, depicting how a dictator is dethroned. It is a love story, where love is thwarted because of politics. And it is also a woman’s story- a portrait of a woman who loves, is rejected, and nineteen years later has the chance to save the man who had harmed her life.
Homer’s voyage motif establishes the architectural structure for the protagonists’ journey and return home. Set in New York City, New Haven, Washington D.C., Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, and Transylvania, Love Odyssey narrates the story of two young doctors from their humble origins in Transylvania to their adult roles of uncovering the origin of present-day Terrorism and bringing down the communist dictator, Ceausescu.
The hero of the story is Petre Ilianu, who has worked more than twenty years to free his country from communism. By becoming the personal physician to the dictator, Ceausescu, and working covertly with the C.I.A., K.G.B., and Romanian ex-patriots in New York City, Petre is able to infiltrate into the inner circle of a dictatorial government and topple the reign of terror. But all this has a price– he has to relinquish the woman he loves.
The heroine of the novel is Anca, who is living in New York City and is practicing medicine at New York Hospital. She also broadcasts radio transmissions for Voice of America and edits political articles for The New York Times. Anca learns about an imminent revolution in Romania and that the leader is Petre, her ex-husband.
Sandra is their eighteen-year-old daughter who has inherited her parents’ cunning and willpower. A freshman at Yale and a fencing champ, she is transfixed to find out if her father is Dr. Spy. She becomes a terrorist target while at college, in retaliation for her parents’ espionage activities.
The love story begins when Petre and Anca, married and expecting a child, are working as doctors to combat a typhus epidemic in Transylvania. But when the secret police learn that they are secretly giving vaccines and antibiotics to non-Communists and Gypsies, the young doctors fear arrest. Petre arranges a daring escape for his pregnant wife and promises he will soon follow her in Vienna or New York City. However, it takes nineteen years until they are reunited when Anca returns to Romania, unknown and disguised, to save Petre, the hero of the revolution. As they escape westward to Paris, their life intertwines on another level.
The novel’s visual and cinematic scenes take the reader into a kaleidoscope of exotic colors where passion and revolution are exploding. It’s a world of Eastern and Central Europe where mystery and secrets are little known and are waiting to be discovered.
REAPPEARANCE OF CHARACTERS FROM THE GIFT OF DIAMONDS,
Twenty-four years have passed. She is married to André, a cardiologist at New York Hospital and they have twin sons. Mica is a choreographer for the Martha Graham student troupe and is also helping Romanian orphans as a Goodwill Ambassador with UNICEF. Her U.N. contacts help her and her friends, the Four Musketeers, support the Romanian revolution of 1989.
The main female protagonist, Anca is Mica’s childhood friend. A pediatrician at New York Hospital, she returns to Romania to save her ex-husband from post-revolutionary rebels. She is helped by her Gypsy friend in Transylvania who unknown to Anca, works secretly with the C.I.A.
Is another childhood friend of Mica’s. She emigrated from Romania to New York City with Mica’s help. Marina is a chemist and came to America to become an entrepreneur in Cosmetics. She brought with her from Transylvania secret creams used by Gypsies and magic elixirs to stay young and beautiful. Her fortune helps finance the Romanian revolution.
Another childhood friend of Mica’s, Christian emigrated from Romania to Paris with Mica’s help and remained in Paris to become a well-known fashion designer. The novel ends in Paris when all the characters reunite to attend Christina’s wedding. The four friends celebrate the end of communism that they helped bring down and dance to their song, We are the Poets of Our Lives.