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A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux

“My name is Blaise Fortune, and I am a citizen of the French Republic. It’s the pure and simple truth.”

Koumail knows this phrase in French very well. It is vitally important that he remember it for he and Gloria, the woman who has looked after him since he was a baby, are refugees, and someday this phrase and an old passport may be his ticket to a better life away from war, starvation and danger. A Time of Miracles, by Anne-Laure Bondoux, is set in the 1990s, as war rages in the Caucasus region, and the Soviet Union has collapsed, leaving masses of people without shelter or food.

Two of those displaced are Gloria and young Koumail, who run from danger after danger with only their bag of gear and each other. Gloria tells him the story many, many times of how a terrorist bomb caused a train to crash near to where she was working, and how his beautiful, injured mother handed him to her for safety. Someday, Gloria and Koumail will make their way to France and find her, so she promises. From a crumbling factory to a gypsy camp to the open road, Koumail and Gloria look after each other as they walk from horizon to horizon up to the moment they are torn apart.

A Time of Miracles is told by Koumail, a young man now, who looks back over those times and discovers that there were important stories—true ones! that Gloria did not share with him and are critical to him understanding the years they spent together in darkness and hope.