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A Savage Kultur by Monique Roy - Book Tour

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A SAVAGE KULTUR by Monique Roy, Historical Fiction


Author: Monique Roy

Publisher: BookBaby

Genre: Historical Fiction

In Oxford, England,
Ava, a Jewish art student at Oxford University,
receives a heart-wrenching letter from her grandfather after he dies. From the
letter, she learns that her grandfather has given her his London
art gallery, which he says will secure her future, as well as provide a place
for her to grow her artistic talents and follow her passion for art. The letter
also describes his one last wish—that she find a treasured Vincent van Gogh
painting, The
Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV
, that
belonged to her grandparents and was
deemed degenerate and looted by the
Nazis in 1937.

Arriving for the
first time at the gallery, she discovers old photographs in a secret room that
recount the harrowing past—a Nazi propaganda parade in 1937. She quickly
becomes aware that the room and the gallery, with an empty frame for the
missing van Gogh, hold such rich memories of her grandparents. As conversations
with her family members and those connected to the painting spur memories, the
book switches back and forth between the current timeline and the timeline
during the war to tell the stories of those affected by the painting and its

On the train to
her grandfather’s funeral, she meets Gordon Rose, an FBI agent, disguised as an
art restitution lawyer. He helps her track down the missing van Gogh, while at
the same time, he goes after an Neo-Nazi albino art forger named Luther.

Ava pays several visits to her grandmother, her only living
relative who lived through the war, hoping she remembers something about the
past that will be a clue to the missing painting and their lives in Germany
during the war. It is in these hours that she sits with her grandmother that
she learns about her grandparents finding refuge on an Austrian farm after they
flee Munich and of Charlotte, a
local farm girl who lives at Lake Toplitz.

Ava’s grandmother who struggles with dementia recalls Charlotte’s
last name. With this information, Ava tracks down Charlotte
at her home at Lake Toplitz
and questions the old woman about what happened at the lake. On her last
breath, Charlotte speaks of the
secrets hidden in the lake.

When Gordon breaks into Luther’s Austrian hideout, he
believes Luther has forged the missing van Gogh painting. Luther claims it is
the real deal. To right a wrong and under the duress of Gordon and law
enforcement, Luther returns the painting to Ava.

Ava takes the van Gogh painting to her grandmother. Still
not sure if it's the real thing or not, Ava wants to bring her grandmother
closure during her last days. Gordon wonders if they should call an art expert
to examine the painting. She believes it was meant to
be there, whether real or fake. In the end,
Gordon and Ava reveal their true feelings for one another.


London, England
New Year’s Eve, 2013

It was an
icy New Year’s Eve in
London when Ava Goldman contemplated the bitter side of life. As
she strolled home from a cozy bookshop before sunset, she noticed the wind
crisscrossed between ancient buildings, thick snow blanketed the streets, and a
single piece of newsprint swirled up in the gust. This weather was not
everyone’s cup of tea, but Ava liked the invigorating, crisp air and the
hoarfrost on the grass. She could stare for hours at the individual snowflakes
that sparkled like glitter and diamonds.
chilly weather scarcely dampened the mood as the city, on the dawn of another
year, still hummed with activity and celebration. Ava knew she was not alone in
her thoughts. Merry revelers stood on the banks of the
Thames River, which lay frigid from below London Bridge. They, too, were on a journey, quietly observing the world
before them as they tried to imagine the future and rehash the past. Glowing
fireworks burst around Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, illuminating the
night sky with explosions of bright and vivacious colors of light.
In these
moments when nothing stirred, she remembered the past, understood the present,
thought of the future, and she dug deep into her soul. Ava vowed to remain
centered no matter what came her way. To her, this meant being more grounded
and calm. She hoped the new year brought with it hope and renewal like a
radiant flower that springs from a timeworn vine.
evening, Ava met some friends for a night on the town. Ava sighed, her breath
crystallized in front of her face. She quickened her pace, trying to keep warm,
walking in silence among some friends as they weaved through crowds of people
toward a riverside Victorian pub. For Ava, it was almost too cold to even
speak. Her full red lips quivered in the frigid night.
shivered and groaned at the biting cold air, drawing her thick wool coat closer
around herself as she continued to stroll around the mob of people.
Her best
friend, Isla Rose, caught up with her fast pace. Ava smiled at how pretty she
looked wearing her large, brown Russian fur hat. Some locks of lustrous raven
hair fell beneath it, tickling Isla’s slender neck.
bloody cold out here, darling!” Isla said, walking arm-in-arm with her friend.
“You look like you’re deep in thought and freezing.”
frigid,” Ava said, sighing. “I’m pondering my life. Isn’t that what everyone
does on New Year’s Eve?”
“I suppose,”
Isla said. “The future is unknown, my dear friend, but there is always a way.
There is always hope. Life can be magical.”
As they
turned the corner,
Ava stopped walking as her eyes first caught the
sight of a strange, thinly-built, small man standing under a street light at
the opposite side of the street. The light illuminated his creepy outfit—a black SS uniform, complete with a cap and red armband
emblazoned with a swastika.
sinister man caused a stunned crowd to slowly disperse into the night.
jumped when she saw the man.
blimey!” she exclaimed, clutching her hand to her chest.
blinked, thinking her eyes were playing tricks, but the sight was very real.
The man was smoking heavily. Cigarette butts lay scattered on the ground around
him. His dark glasses covered most of his face, except for his chalk-pale cheeks and chin. It was hard to know who
he was looking at or why he was there. His head was tilted back slightly as if
he was looking at the stars in the night sky. His mouth formed a strange
variation between a grimace and a smile as it loosely held a lit cigarette. It
was as if he was taunting the crowd in a strange and eerie silence.
People walked by him, either laughing or gasping in
shock, many not knowing how to react to the absurdity. Ava continued to stand
several feet away horrified. Her eyes were glued to the man who was now
perfectly parallel to them.
A cold chill crept up her spine, raising the
tiny hairs on the back of her neck. The
man did not react; he just stood there, like a statue. He did not say a word to
An older man walked by and spat on
the strange man’s black boots. Still the mysterious man did not react. He
continued to watch the crowd who stared back at him in terror and pointed
“Should we call the police?” Isla
“I have to get out of here,” Ava
said in a panic. “This is so disturbing and bizarre.”
When they arrived at the pub, Ava
sat wide-eyed in shock.
“Are you alright?” Isla asked.
Ava nodded. “Please order me a
stiff drink.”
friends sitting around her, a buzz of conversations filled the air. A few
friends were chatting about this and that, and their hopes and dreams for the
coming year. Then the conversation grew more serious.
“Did you
see that odd guy outside?” one friend asked. “Has anyone seen someone dressed
in a Nazi uniform before?”
just shook their heads.
of Nazis…we must all know
someone who has an untold story in their family’s past,” said another
Upon hearing it, Ava jolted from her ice-cold trance and her
mind raced with many questions.
As she continued to listen, she felt great despair and a concern for the future. It was a jarring
wake-up call that a treasure trove of information about her family’s past lay
within her grandparents—one who struggled to relive the past and the other who
no longer remembered it.
“Everyone has secrets,” the one friend said to the other.
“Some secrets should be kept in the deep, dark depths of our being and some
should be brought wide into the open.”
The other friend said, “I believe some secrets destroy us if
not revealed, but not all are destructive; sometimes they are crucial to our
She believed those words, except she had no idea what that
untold story, those secrets, could possibly be. She hoped that if her family
had dark secrets, that they would not be lost to the grave one day.
            Since that evening, those words hit
a sensitive nerve. They reminded her of what her grandfather used to say when
she was younger.

grandfather always said to view the world with a wary eye. When Ava asked why,
he would respond that she was by nature a kind and halcyon person and that she
must be aware of the transient world around her
“People judge,” he would tell her, “people can be evil.”
Ava never pushed the subject beyond those words because he
would never answer. Her grandfather would never tell her about the darkness
that lay within his soul. She knew not to ask—not to push him back to that
gloomy corner of his very being.
Ava grew
up with the knowledge that something terrible must have happened to her
grandfather to make him embody such a cautious way of looking at the world. In
fact, she was convinced. Yet, he was unable to talk about the past and what
happened in his younger days. The war had closed a part of him off. As Ava grew
older, she let go any hope that her grandfather would reopen old wounds.
Perhaps the truth was more than that—he was afraid to be taken back to a place
that he had tried so hard to leave behind.


Monique’s passion for writing began as a young girl while penning
stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by
creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist
University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a
Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, and
historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents
were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s
their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her first
historical novel.

Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and
Monique likes to explore the past so that we can potentially better
understand the future.

Monique resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a freelance writer.

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