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22gigantes.com - In 1836 the Gameros flee Spain, endure a difficult sea voyage, and begin a new life in Manila, Philippines. A host of angels guide their only son, José, through four marriages and twenty children as the Gamero family history is traced to his youngest daughter, Maria de los Angeles (Mary of the Angels). The family struggles through the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and World War I. Visits from The Angel of Death overshadow Mary's childhood, her courtship and marriage to a Texan; rearing a family through The Great Depression; and, finally, dealing with the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during World War II. Desperate attempts to keep her children alive while surrounded by death and devastation; dealing with the imprisonment of her husband and his status in Santo Tomas Internment Camp (STIC); and, pondering the fate of their oldest son, a U.S. Navy Seaman missing in action since the infamous bombing of Manila on December 8, 1941, test her survival skills and her faith. The ordeal of dealing with the Japanese Occupation for over three years, followed by numerous narrow escapes during the American Liberation of the Philippines, lead Mary to life-changing decisions.
Most helpful customer reviews 4 of 4 people found the following review helpful. Mary of the Angels By Carla W Bizzell Most wartime accounts are from the perspective of the warring nations and their military tactics and personnel. This book is different in that it is a first-hand account of the plight of the civilians located in a war-torn country. This book is a true story which focuses on one Spanish/American family's struggle to survive under WWII Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the strong faith that provided Mary of the Angels the tenacity to protect her family through the ordeal, and the painful account of her husband's incarceration in a Japanese concentration camp. The struggles, risks, pain and hardships were real and the writer brings those memories to life in the story, and is a must-read for those wishing to understand the true victims of war. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. Captivating By Sharen Having read or studied about the Japanese occupation of the Philippines provided me with only the cold facts. Mary of the Angels opened my eyes to the human experience. Following this family through their hardships and horrors captivated my attention and my heart. As a mother, I can not fathom the fear and heartbreak of having to watch your children suffer. The strength, faith, and will of Mary, as well as the dedication of her children, sparked hope in an otherwise hopeless time. I have bonded with this family through the words of Dr. Vance and am left wanting to know what happens next! Be warned, this is one of those reads that you can not put down until you have finished it. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. Captivating! A testament that true stories are the most riveting! By Alester Spears This book amazed me! After the first several chapters I was hooked, and then the book kept getting better and better. The part I liked best was I felt I was learning about history while enjoying a captivating story-a true story. I had no idea what happened in the Philippines during WWII and I would safely bet few in my generation do ( I'm a Gen-Xer). Now, I have a better historical understanding of this country/war and of the strength of the human spirit during a period of desperation. Another reminder of how family is the only thing that matters and how fortunate of a country and time period we live in. I will definitely recommend this book ( and give as gifts). It's a must read! See all 21 customer reviews...
About the Author Born in Manila, Philippines, to Spanish and American parents, Mary Jane Hodges Vance, grew up speaking English, Spanish, and Tagalog. During WWII, it was necessary to learn some Japanese in order to survive the Japanese Occupation before being liberated in 1945. As a repatriated American citizen, she and surviving members of her family arrived in San Francisco on August 13, 1945 . . . experiencing the worst riot to ever occur in that city during V-J Day. Losing over three years of school during WWII, the author faced the challenge and now holds three graduate degrees. She served as teacher and administrator in the public schools in Rains and Hunt Counties . . . mostly in Greenville, Texas, and as university admiinistrator and instructor for East Texas State and Texas A&M Universities. Countless leadership positions on national, state, and regional education boards and community service venues mark her dedication to the profession.
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