Don Roberto’s Daughter Natasha
Christian Faith Publishing, 2018
There is a space in literature between memoir and fiction that some call creative nonfiction. It is a genre meant to allow writers to explore and convey truth while not being pinned down by mere facts. Although make no mistake, the genre is premised on and relies upon meaningful facts. In the case of Connor Royce’s novel Don Roberto’s Daughter: Natasha, readers are given the personal story of Royce’s wife filtered through the author’s own sense of storytelling. We all do this, relate facts to others with our own flair. Royce does an exceptional job of writing a novel that successfully works as fiction and is loaded with biographical import.
Readers love stories like this. The phrase ‘based on a true story’ is like candy to readers. Into this mix, Royce gives us a portrait of the dedicated Natasha who is navigating the world feeling the pull and push of romantic love and the difficulty of faith. Readers will immediately feel this novel as an earnest romance between Natasha and Sean but one focused on how Natasha endures and celebrates the life she is trying to craft. Royce has one of his characters muse, “The Spanish word for uphill was subida, Su vida also meant ‘your life,’ and they sounded virtually identical.” and this could very easily be the core sentiment of the novel.
Having left her family in Mexico, Natasha has moved to Texas thinking it will lead to a better life. However, she soon feels pangs to return. Then she meets Sean and suddenly has a reason to stay. Royce builds the love affair between these two before seamlessly transitioning to the illness and struggles Natasha faces, eventually returning to Mexico. There she pines for Sean but the young man is truly smitten and follows. His presence gives Natasha more than hope as he wins over her father. Yet Natasha’s illness will not be cured by love. Or will it, but in a different form?
Royce moves his story into a mediation on God and faith. Here, readers with a religions (Christian) or spiritual bent will find the novel takes on a deeper, more resonant tone. We get to see these young loves explore their beliefs and feelings for each other in such a way that both grow deeper and more meaningful. Natasha and readers discover they are not just involved in a love story but a spiritual journey. However, as in most dramas, as her faith and love grows so does Natasha’s illness making Don Roberto’s Daughter: Natasha a novel tasking readers to celebrate living in all its difficulties.
Again, readers of faith and spirituality will find this novel emotionally fulfilling. The ease with which Royce writes draws readers into his prose making the characters (based on real people and real events) vivid. He is doing more than merely relating facts, the bones of a story, Royce is adding flesh and life to the story. Readers see and feel this story making it all the more compelling.
About the Author
Connor Royce has lived in five countries, speaks three languages, has attended universities, been a ballroom dance instructor, doorman at a five-star hotel, bouncer in country bars, shift supervisor in a top-secret computer office in the military, a national champion in martial arts, and driven trucks across the United States, Canada and Iraq. None of this has led to any success or prepared him for life in the real world.
So now he writes.