Rich yet scrupulous in detail, The Occupied Garden recovers the life of an ordinary family living in extraordinary times, times when feeding a family was a struggle, and living by precepts of integrity and human decency required daily acts of heroism. Like any true pilgrimage, it is both a return to the familiar and a discovery of things new and strange, as the iconic figures of opa and oma (grandpa and grandma) become again what they once were: young lovers and, later, parents with huge decisions to make.
I had the pleasure of hearing Kristen speak about her book this fall at a fund-raiser organized by Toronto-area editor and writer Allyson Latta, who happened to be one of the early readers of All the Good Pilgrims. Allyson leads memoir-writing worshops, so it was fitting that all proceeds went to Alzheimer's research; the evening was devoted in every way to the preservation of memory.
For anyone looking to write about their Camino experience, a writers' workshop is not a bad place to start. To learn more about Allyson's, go to daysroadwriters.blogspot.com.