Synopses & Reviews
From Chile to Germany, a heart-wrenching tale of love, loyalty, and new beginnings brings history vividly to life
Santiago, 1973: Rosa is a happy girl, living a privileged life among the ruling elite. But when violence erupts with the Pinochet coup, her socialist parents are the first to be taken. Forced to flee across the Andes, she finds herself rescued by a Stasi spy, and escapes behind the Iron Curtain to Germany. East Berlin, 1989: Englishman Patrick Miller has crossed over and is working at the Secretariat for Socialist Correctness in Publishing. Dragged into a dangerous, cynical world of shady dealings on both sides of the Wall, Patrick doesn't know what he believes in anymore—until he meets Rosa. Separate currents of the 20th century have washed Patrick and Rosa up in a divided city that despite everything they've both come to love. As the Soviet Union starts to break up around them, the tide of change is too strong for even the much feared Stasi to hold back. But once the barriers are down and the rubble cleared, what kind of country will they be left with?
"Powerful and sensitive, this tragic novel helps illuminate a historical episode still too little known or acknowledged." —Kirkus Reviews
"Boyadjian based parts of the book on the stories of her own grandparents, survivors of the Armenian genocide. That comes through, both in the description and in the way the characters react to the ever-present dangers, and makes As the Poppies Bloomed a moving work." —Foreword Reviews
“As the Poppies Bloomed is a compelling read from first page to last and clearly documents author Maral Boyadjian as an especially gifted storyteller who will leave her readers looking eagerly toward her next novel.” —Midwest Book Review
"As the Poppies Bloomed is a story of love, loss and in the end salvation—the best type of story we have to remind ourselves of some of the worst, and best, aspects of the human condition." —Christopher Atamian, HuffPost Books, The Huffington Post
Beginning 24 months before WWI and the Armenian genocide is a love story that unravels a piece of 100-year-old history seen through the eyes of the young, courageous, and unyielding Anno and Daron. In an era of major human disaster and violence, this historical novel offers an easy, accessible understanding of what atrocities mean to regular people and how love overcomes the most unimaginable pain. From the colors used to dye the rugs, to the distances between the villages where guns were smuggled, to the fragrance of wild mushrooms snapping and sizzling on an open fire, each detail makes the reader truly participate in the life and struggle of the characters. Five years of research through gathering materials and traveling to the real-life village that is depicted in this novel, amid gunfire and bombings, has been poured into a love story that will either be savored by the reader or read in a frenzy to discover the fate of Anno and Daron.
It is 1913 and late summer in the Ottoman Empire. The sun rises, full and golden, atop a lush, centuries-old village tucked into the highlands where the blood-red poppies bloom. Outside the village leader's home, the sound of voices carries past the grapevines to the lane where Anno, his youngest daughter, slips out unseen.
She heads to a secret meeting place. She forgets that enemies surround her village. She forgets that her father meets each day with trepidation. She knows only the love she has for Daron, who waits for her as she hastens to him, once again breaking the ancient rules of courtship.
Anno and Daron wish for nothing more than marriage and a better day alongside their neighbors, but neither is prepared for the dark, dangerous secret that Daron's father keeps or the upheaval that will soon envelop their village, their land, and their hearts.
About the Author
Maral Boyadijan is the granddaughter of four Armenian genocide survivors who she weaves the memories and experiences of her grandparents into her writing. She lives in Granada Hills, California.