Today it’s the Book Birthday Blitz for Gorgito’s Ice Rink by Elizabeth Ducie.
When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles and training modules—and write for fun instead. She started by writing travel pieces, but soon discovered she was happier, and more successful, writing fiction. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. She has published four novels, three collections of short stories and a series of manuals on business skills for writers.
Gorgito’s Ice Rink was runner up in Writing Magazine’s 2015 Self-Published Book of the Year Awards.
Two small boys grieving for lost sisters — torn between family and other loves. Can keeping a new promise make up for breaking an old one?
When Gorgito Tabatadze sees his sister run off with a soldier, he is bereft. When she disappears into Stalin’s Gulag system, he is devastated. He promises their mother on her death-bed he will find the missing girl and bring her home; but it is to prove an impossible quest.
Forty years later, Gorgito, now a successful businessman in post-Soviet Russia, watches another young boy lose his sister to a love stronger than family. When a talented Russian skater gets the chance to train in America, Gorgito promises her grief-stricken brother he will build an ice-rink in Nikolevsky, their home town, to bring her home again.
With the help of a British engineer, who has fled to Russia to escape her own heartache, and hindered by the local Mayor who has his own reasons for wanting the project to fail, can Gorgito overcome bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate in his quest to build the ice-rink and bring a lost sister home? And will he finally forgive himself for breaking the promise to his mother?
There are a few key themes that are woven into the fabric of this story, but perhaps the most poignant and emotional is the one about Gorgito and his sister Maria. Even after forty plus years he hasn’t forgotten the promise he made to his mother about finding his sister. He still feels her absence even after such a long time. The ice-rink becomes synonymous with Gorgito’s personal loss and with an attempt to make sure Dima doesn’t experience the same heartache.
Gorgito wants to build an ice-rink, so Duma’s sister doesn’t have to leave to have a career as an ice-skater. He doesn’t want Dima to have to miss and live without his sister the way Gorgito had to. The story is split into different periods of time going back many decades to the merciless rule of Stalin’s Mother Russia.
Emma becomes heavily involved in Gorgito’s life and ambitious plans. Being in Russia and feeling at home there awakens feelings of confusion about where she belongs. This is actually quite common for people with dual nationalities or people who are raised in one country but are from another country. It comes as a surprise to Emma and so does the depth of her emotional attachment to the country and even more so by her attachment to the people.
It’s a family saga, at times it is historical fiction and then at others it is a contemporary read. Maria’s part of the story is written in a way that evokes a more emotional response from the reader. The difference in narrative gives the story an uneven feeling at times, but Ducie makes up for it with the research into Russian life, politics and culture.