A Journey In-Between
This coming-of-age saga is told through the eyes of Ricardo, a young Spanish-Filipino, as he voyages to America in 1916. He embarked on his journey thinking he was leaving behind war, rampant disease, unspeakable deaths, and family secrets only to find a country on the cusp of race riots, World War I, and a global pandemic. He learns that each of these events has the power to define who he is and who he will become.
To succeed, he’ll need to face memories of his past life of privilege, grapple with his own culture, and come to peace with the loss of his parents. He’ll also need to confront his many attackers. His future depends on it.
In her ambitious debut novel, Maria Alvarez Stroud explores a never-ending question: How welcoming is America to the immigrants who leave everything from their previous lives behind? Richly imagined and vividly rendered, BRAVE CROSSING: A Journey In-Between offers a moving portrait of one man’s search for home.
This novel reminds us that historical fiction is not just a view into the past but,
in many ways, a mirror to our present.
298 page softcover, 6 x 9 inches
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Maria Alvarez Stroud
Maria Alvarez Stroud lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Ritchey. This is her debut novel, although she has an extensive writing background within public broadcasting. An avid reader and lover of historical fiction, she also writes short stories and essays.
Brave Crossing is the best kind of historical fiction, a novel that makes you care for the characters and keep turning the pages. I was hooked from Ricardo’s early ocean crossing to the United States as an uncertain Spanish-Filipino immigrant to his reflections near the end of his life in a small western Wisconsin city. It’s a wonder, and some might say only in America. I say only in the hands of a gifted storyteller like Maria Alvarez Stroud.
This is a wonderful immigrant story. With impressive research and “what’s going to happen next” writing, Maria Alvarez Stroud tells the tale of young Ricardo Alvarez, who, traveling alone, makes his way from the Philippines to the United States in 1916. He faces racism of the worst kind. But he keeps picking himself up and continues to pursue his dream of becoming a medical doctor, a fascinating story.
This epistolary tale provides fresh and compelling insight into the immigrant experience. Readers travel vicariously with young Ricardo on a physical and emotional journey that presents unending challenges. Ricardo is a complex character who struggles with injustices and sometimes makes mistakes, but never loses his compassion, determination, and dream of becoming a doctor. Maria Alvarez Stroud vividly evokes the journey, from the Philippine Islands’ church bells and cockatoos to Chicago’s squalid boardinghouses to rural Wisconsin’s peaceful beauty. Brave Crossing will enlighten you, wrench your heart, and ultimately lift your spirits.
One of the most difficult writing genres is the historical novel. That a first-time author chooses to write in this genre is a reflection of great self-confidence. Maria Alvarez Stroud’s first book, Brave Crossing, is a tribute to her father, clothed in fiction. It is the story of a young man’s dream of adventure and a different if not a better life in another country.
While most migrant stories are of men running from a life of poverty and a hopeless future, the hero in Brave Crossing, Ricardo Alvarez was none of these. He was a young Filipino belonging to an upper-class family in the province of Laguna, Philippines. That he decides to leave the comforts of a privileged life and go to America, albeit as a first-class passenger on the ship Tanyu Maru, is an unusual story.
The book covers several decades from 1912-1972. Maria Alvarez Stroud writes with a passion for details and an authenticity to historical events that cannot be questioned. Read the book and learn a bit of Philippine history and culture through the letters of Ricardo to his family. Discover the mixed bag of kindnesses, great opportunities, as well as ugly racism Ricardo encountered in his early days in America. Brave Crossing is a story of victory over mindless discrimination, great pride in a dream fulfilled, and the triumph of enculturation. If we have the story of Everyman, then this graced narrative is the story of Every Migrant.
Through letters, notes, journaling, and telegrams, Brave Crossing is a deeply personal look into the desire, the doubt, and the decision of one man to leave everyone and everything dear behind and embrace the unknown in search of the promise of America—a promise both earned and kept.