Monday, June 24, 2024

Love discovered, nurtured and shared -- #ComingOfAge #LiteraryFiction #Review

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In this final chapter, Ron's story concludes from Reflections on the Boulevard (2023). Michael's wish was for Ron to exile himself in the heart of Paris with its beautiful culture and citizens as they protest and fight for the soul of the city. Ron's journey is met with life-affirming friendships and lessons along the way. The final book in the Reflections of Michael Trilogy, which started with A Reservoir Man (2022).


Ron, weak in the legs from forgetting the spirit of his youth, had been managing bookstores more than living life. His legs pumped forward. but with the awkwardness of an old man who had forgotten how to walk. In a few seconds he was up to speed and ran faster to catch the thief.

Near the corner, Ron had missed his opportunity to slow and check for other people walking, so he slammed into a group of women. He especially blasted into an old lady whose groceries flew into the sky, and a yogurt splattered against a wall and the faces of the other women. She turned to condemn her assailant, but he was already on the next block in pursuit of the thief.

He spotted the thief at the Notre Dame Hotel, out of breath, leaning against a pillar. Surprised at the thief’s choice to stop here, he slowed down and let his feet pound the street into a halt.

Ron grabbed at him but still missed his shoulder.

Give me the book back!” he said, very loudly.

The thief just shrugged his shoulder, a mocking smile. His smile made the act of chasing him through the streets feel silly, as if this were a game that had been played and he took it too seriously.

The thief looked at Ron and asked, sarcastically, “What language are you speaking?”

What do mean? I am speaking French!”

Our thief laughed, turned to a random man who walked down the street, and said, "This young man thinks he is speaking French Go ahead say something to this stranger; he will tell you are speaking some other language other than French!”

I will call the police,” Ron said firmly.

Exiles book cover

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Exiles by L.J. Ambrosio is not a romance. Nevertheless, it is first and foremost a story of love—love discovered, sometimes among strangers; love nurtured, in the face of sorrow and loss; love magnified, multiplied and passed on to the next human who needs it.

I haven’t read the first two books in the Michael trilogy, though I did host the author’s tour for the second book, Reflections on the Boulevard.

There are enough references and recollections in this volume that I think I can piece together the general shape of the trilogy. Michael was an older man who befriended, cherished and guided Ron, the protagonist of Exiles. They traveled together, learning from their experiences and from one another. In this book, Michael has passed on, but his influence on Ron remains profound. Honoring a promise made to his mentor, Ron moves to Paris, “exiling” himself in a new country and culture. He takes over as manager of the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore (, where he meets (actually apprehends) young Louie, the conflicted and emotionally vulnerable scion of a wealthy Parisian family. Taking Louie under his wing, Ron tries to help the youth make sense of his desires, ideals and goals. He plays a role similar to that which Michael played in his own life.

Louie becomes one of the bookstore’s Tumbleweeds, a person passing through a phase of life for whom the store provides sanctuary. As Louie fights in the streets for his beliefs about social justice and falls in love with the lovely, fragile Lily, Ron offers what help he can—and his own wisdom and understanding continue to grow in the process.

As befits the title, the city of Paris is almost a character in this story, offering scenes of beauty that sometimes evoke the same sort of awe one experiences in nature. Powerfully emotional, the book rings with a sincerity that is rather rare in “literary” works. It’s obvious that this is a personal story, a fictionalized memoir that is written with little art but with great soul.

I have deep respect for L.J. Ambrosio. Not everyone can write with such honesty, or be comfortable offering lessons that might seem old-fashioned but are, I believe, enduringly true.

About the Author

Author photo

Louis J. Ambrosio ran one of the most nurturing bi-coastal talent agencies in Los Angeles and New York. He started his career as a theatrical producer, running two major regional theaters for eight seasons. Ambrosio taught at 7 Universities. Ambrosio also distinguished himself as an award-winning film producer and novelist over the course of his impressive career.







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L.J. Ambrosio will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card, a dragonfly necklace, or a second dragonfly necklace to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

We appreciate you hosting and reviewing EXILES today - thank you.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, L.J. Welcome back to Beyond Romance, and thank you for the chance to read and review your very moving book.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Sherry said...

This sounds like such a great read

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