DonnaInk Publications, L.L.C. has signed author, actor, screenwriter John Loretto, and his co-author and friend, Carolyn Kay Doswell, regarding their title, “A Flower Grows.” Ms. Donna L. Quesinberry, Founder and President of DonnaInk Publications, shares: “Our most recent title, “A Flower Grows,” is a novel worthy of literary recognition. Referencing the sensitive grey zone of the Holocaust at Banjica Concentration Camp, which has not been addressed previously, both Mr. Loretto and Ms. Doswell captured the brutality associated with 1940s German concentration camp existence in former Yugoslavia. An impending movie production, “A Flower Grow’s” screen play has been adeptly managed by Ms. Judith Moose and Mr. Eric Canton both of Los Angeles resulting in solid thumbs-up from entertainment professionals. At the current hour, DonnaInk Publications looks forward to providing readers with John and Carolyn’s intriguing, inspirational, yet disturbing glimpse of the Holocaust’s Grey Zone of survival, during World War II and German occupation at Banjica near Belgrade, Yugoslavia.”
Mr. Michael Berenbaum (scholar, author, historian, holocaust expert, film and museum professional) reviewed John Loretto and Carolyn Kay Doswell’s literary work, and stated: “A Flower Grows,” is a novel about the grey zone, the world of the in between. A word about the story: a young Serbian Jewish couple and their entire family and guest party are taken from the synagogue celebration on their wedding day, even before the consummation of their marriage, and shipped off to a slave labor camp in the former Yugoslavia. One of the bride’s captors, a German officer from the educated class, spots the beautiful woman and has her brought into his home where he beds her and, over time, falls in love with her. The bride is mindful of her situation, compromised as it is, and uses it to protect as best as possible her family, who turn a blind eye to the relationship and/or tacitly consent to it to save themselves and her from almost certain death.
“Whether a victim of the Stockholm syndrome — of identifying with her captors –, overtaken by sexual lust—he is handsome, she is a beautiful virgin—or merely engaged in a mutually exploitative relationship with a man who in these circumstances is all powerful, the living arrangement is sustained over time. Pregnancy follows, so too a child, and now the officer is in love and protective of his lover and their offspring. Under ordinary circumstances one might cry out in judgment: “rape,” “adultery,” “exploitation,” “have you—all of you, the officer, the bride, her family—no shame?” And yet the Holocaust was anything but ordinary and the grey zone is truly grey. The officer is a perpetrator, but not only a perpetrator. He is also a rescuer who risks his freedom, his career, and perhaps even his life for the woman he lusts for and ultimately loves and protects her family. Germans turned a blind eye toward the rape of Jewish women, but sustained affairs were not to be countenanced. Though present in the camp, the officer— or so he claims— tries to avoid participating in the atrocities that are the daily lot of all who enter its gates. He proclaims himself an anti-Nazi and yet he enables others to kill. He is more than merely complicit. His role is indispensable and thus far from peripheral to a killing machine. His humanity is further complicated by his tenderness toward his lover, son, and his parents.
“The bride is an innocent victim, at least at the beginning, taken from the bridal canopy to a concentration camp. Ambitious, tempestuous, competitive, but still sexually innocent, she struggles as all struggled to go from a home of middle-class privilege to a concentration camp. The attraction between the officer and the bride is mutual. Did she invite it? What is the moment of consent? What is her allegiance to her groom? What are her feelings of betrayal? The writers don’t judge, they explore; they raise questions even without resolving them. The post-war ending, which I will not describe for fear of giving away the ending, is ambiguous. Part of the power of this work is that the questions are deepened, the answers harder to find. Such is the truth of what they describe, in fact. Very few survivors could be so candid of their past. It would be too painful, too dangerous. There are plot flaws, minor nuisances—less in the concentration camp than in the world before – the circumstances are accurate and their insights quite on the mark. And their readers are left to contemplate not merely a story but the heart of the grey zone to sort out the good and the bad, not an easy task indeed.”
The authors, and DonnaInk Publications, extend profound appreciation to Mr. Michael Berenbaum for his distinguished review of, “A Flower Grows.” The official release date is slated to be announced at the onset of the second quarter of 2019. Currently, “A Flower Grows,” is available in pre-order through DonnaInk Publications, L.L.C. (www.donnaink.com), AMAZON, Barnes & Noble, and other distributors / retailers. The publisher stated that upon pre-sale listing they began receiving orders, which are filled first; however, they are working around the clock to move from development to production and essential kick-off promotions. The re-edition of, “A Flower Grows,” features a new cover, original layout, elemental rewrite and reduction in cost with another round of editorial. Industry reviews and noteworthy additions are also included in the impending release. “A Flower Grows,” will be available for purchase in multiple formats, including: blockchain, eBook, hardbound, print and eventually, audio.
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About the Authors:
John Loretto was born in Washington Heights New York City and grew up in New Jersey where as a young adult he worked for a car dealership and as an assistant special education teacher. In high school, and college, he began his acting and writing career becoming affiliated with Beautiful People Owen Action Theater Conservatory, Dead End Tommy Action Theater Conservatory, Summer and Smoke John Action Theater Conservatory, Tea and Sympathy Tommy Action Theater Conservatory, and Totally Cool Willy Action Theater Conservatory. He also trained with Action Theatre Conservatory; Expressions Unlimited, Bobbie Shaw Chance Workshop; Joel & Kathleen Improvisational; etc. Mr. Loretto has written four (4) screen plays: “A Flower Grows,” “An American Rises,” “Birds of Paradise,” and “Jaguar’s Child”; a reality television show concept; and one (1) novel. Some of John’s movie credits include: Gay (Short) – Fluffer Boy – 2018; III Bad Day (Short) – Businessman – 2016; Room for Rent (TV Series) – Daniel – 2012; Mexican Gangster – Brooklyn Bob – 2008; Chicano Blood (Video) – Mobster 1 – 2008; Every Move You Make (Video) – Anson Shine – 2002; etc. He currently resides in Palm Springs, California.
Carolyn Kay Doswell is the owner of EBD Publishing and is a writing partner in Panther Sight Productions. A former teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Carolyn has put her writing expertise to good use, having co-written, “A Flower Grows,” “An American Rises,” “Birds of Paradise,” and “Jaguar’s Child,” with John Loretto. She’s also co-composer of pop songs “Accident’ly on Purpose,” and “Only Twenty-Four” with Robin Randall. She currently resides in Palm Springs, California.
About the Reviewer:
Mr. Michael Berenbaum is an American scholar, professor, rabbi, writer, and filmmaker, who specializes in the study of the Holocaust. He served as Deputy Director of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust (1979–1980), Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) (1988–1993), and Director of the USHMM’s Holocaust Research Institute (1993–1997). Berenbaum also played a leading role in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum (HSHMM) and the content of its permanent exhibition. From 1997 to 1999, he served as President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, and subsequently (and currently) as Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust, located at the American Jewish University (formerly known as the University of Judaism), in Los Angeles, CA. His wife, Melissa Patack Berenbaum, is the Vice President and General Manager of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), California Group, and president of the California chapter of the MPAA. Berenbaum is the father of four children: Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat, Phillip Lev Berenbaum, Joshua Boaz Berenbaum, and Mira Leza Berenbaum.