Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“It was as though she had stepped into her familiar yard when the sun was at a certain angle, and there, right in front of her, at the base of a tree she had looked at countless times, a precious stone that had always been there glinted and caught her eye.”

The very moment I cracked the spine of Valeria’s Last Stand, I knew I was in for something magical. Marc has an uncanny ability to weave words and beguile his reader until real life and novel become seamlessly intertwined. His main characters, Valeria, the Potter, Iboyla, the Mayor and the Chimney Sweep are larger than life and fleshed out so vividly and intimately that by the end of the book it was if I had walked alongside them for the duration of their journey and could only hold my breath as their lives exploded and unfolded between the pages.

Like the blooming of a inestimable orchid, Valeria’s tale unfolds its precious petals so languidly that one can’t help but slip a finger between the pages in hopes of speeding up the story; and yet, each sentence, each page, is rife with new magic and impossible to skim over; the reader becomes a willing captive.

Valeria’s Last Stand is a gem of a novel that gives the reader a penetrating perspective of a backwater Hungarian village and it’s assortment of colorful and unsuspecting inhabitants. Known for their complacency and contentedness to remain anonymous and unchanged, the villagers find themselves suddenly upended as one single act of whim on Valeria’s part metamorphoses them all, forcing them to take stock of their lives, their desires, and their dreams.

Marc’s story flows, one character’s story from another, until every breath is interconnected. The tumult and discord the villagers are forced to face will likely lead them all to ruin, their tiny, perfect life speared open by a single caprice of one of their most curmudgeonly inhabitants…or will it? You will have to read Valeria’s Last Stand and find out, and I promise you, this book is a keeper!

Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children. She entertains her passion or reading in between providing services to help empower and improve the lives of low-income residents.