Lady Justice has a long memory as FBI analyst Jake Bernstein investigates a suspected Nazi spy wanted for war crimes.
A BODYGUARD OF LIES is a riveting blend of romantic thriller, mystery and WWII espionage. A Jewish-American FBI analyst, Jake Bernstein, is recruited by MI-5 to go undercover and investigate a naturalized American grandmother. The elderly woman is suspected by MI-5 of being a notorious Nazi spy wanted for war crimes. Jake Bernstein runs into a series of complications: This spy knows a secret that could endanger the British royal family; his attraction to the old woman’s beautiful granddaughter; an Irish, neo-Nazi group tries to kill him; and all the while, a clever, cagey old woman stands in the way of justice.
Spotlight of "Esperanza" by fellow Latina author Sandra Lopez
My fellow latina author, Sandra Lopez: "Sandra C. López was born and raised in Hawaiian Gardens, California. She strived to achieve the best grades in school and spent her free time writing, drawing and reading. Sandra managed to be the first in her family to graduate from high school and enter college. Her story is a tale of strength and determination. Currently, this young writer is a recent graduate of Cal State University Fullerton with a BFA in Animation and Illustration, and she is anticipating a promising career as a writer and an artist. "Esperanza" is her very first novel, but it is certainly not the last."
1. In many ways, Esperanza's neighborhood--The Gardens--is an important minor character. How does her environment influence Esperanza, her values and personality, her goals and aspirations?
ME: Well, even though Hawaiian Gardens is a small city, it's still a barrio. So there's really no difference between the two cities for Esperanza. A barrio is a barrio no matter what size. Esperanza was forced to grow up in a poor slum, so it was a natural course for her to want a better life. She saw what growing up in a cities like East LA did to other people--they dropped out of school, they ended up in gangs, they wound up pregnant by a no-good bum, and eventually, they just fell off the face of the earth. Esperanza didn't want to end up like that. She wanted more and she didn't mind working hard for it.
2. Esperanza tries to be a buffer for her younger siblings between the ugly
realities of their neighborhood and their innocent childhood. This quality makes
the teen very appealing and sympathetic as the major character in this novel.
How do you feel she changes by the end of the story? What play the most
important role in this change?
ME: Esperanza was many things to her siblings because she had to be--she was the oldest, after all. Throughout most of the novel, she takes care of her brother and sister by babysitting them, feeding them, tutoring them, etc. A lot of the responsibility for them was always ambushed on her. So, in the beginning, she feels like she has to take care of her family first before she can do something for herself. And when the opportunity to go to college enters, she thinks that this is finally a chance for her to find out what she's made of. This was finally something she could do for herself.
3. Esperanza seems both devoted to and afraid of her mother. What accounts for this?
ME: Yes, Esperanza loves and respects her mother, who has a bit of a temper. Her mother always came down hard on her, especially when it came to her younger siblings, because she was the oldest--she was suppose to know better. You know what most people say: parents make a lot of the mistakes through the first born child. A lot of her fear came from being raised in a hostile and abusive household. Somewhere in her psyche, she feels that if she does something wrong, then she will get punished, which is why she always tries to be the good girl and the smart student. She never wants to disappoint her mother, she never wants to get her mad because, in the end, she always ends up yelling at her. And, of course, Esperanza resents her mother for that.
4. Does her mother's experience as a battered wife make Esperanza feel
differently toward men than most teenage girls?
ME: Yes, basically, Esperanza doesn't want to get married because she's afraid of it (this is actually something that gets a little more developed in the second novel) For a long time, she believes that all men are like her father--drinkers, gamblers, abusers. And she doesn't want that. So just like to avoid any STD is to not have sex; to avoid any wife-beater is to not get married.
5. Grandma knows Esperanza is different, special, smarter than the others in her family. In what ways does this validation contribute to Esperanza's growth and determination to succeed?
ME: Well, she saw how the rest of her family ended up--in gangs, in jail, in bad marriages. And, again, she didn't want to end up like any of them. And she knew that she was different than them just by being the first one to graduate high school. She may not have thought that she was special, but she knew she was different.
6. In what ways are you--the writer--like Esperanza?
ME: Esperanza was infused with my personality. She's like my clone, basically. We both love to read, we were both good in school, we were both horrible in PE, we were both never good at the whole guy thing, we were both the oldest in our family, we were both shy and quiet. And, most importantly, like Esperanza, I also wanted something more than what the barrio offered, which was why I went to college. And, even to my own surprise, I ended up transferring to Cal State, which I never planned on doing. But this one counselor saw this potential in me and pretty much told me that I was going to transfer. So I did.
7. As Esperanza moves into college, what will be Esperanza's conflicts and
challenges in the sequel to this novel?
ME: Esperanza will have no trouble adjusting to college life because she was made for it. It's something that she's been working towards for as long as she can remember. However, some of the challenges she will face are the ones life will throw at her. For instance, she will get tangled in this romantic triangle. At the end of "Esperanza," Carlos confesses his true feelings, and, in the sequel, he will pick up where he left off. But Esperanza meets someone else. Then, at the very end, Esperanza will face a hard choice: should she leave Los Angeles and her family? Her mother wasn't too keen on her leaving for college. How do you think she'll feel if she leaves the city?