"The Giuliana Legacy"
(Reviewed by Judi Clark DEC 01, 2001)
"The legacy, Lady. Only your love can save it."
It was only a couple of days earlier that her father sprang on her a story of her ancestry and her supposed legacy that has been lying dormant in her genes waiting for the right moment to be triggered. Her father can see that Julia's aura has the telltale rose-gold color and knows it is now time for Julia to start her role. Struggling with what to tell her, he begins by recommending that she take a trip to Tuscany to learn more about her matrilineal heritage. He promises her that her legacy will become her greatest passion, for her and the world. Quite believably, Julia, although a bit stubborn, is intrigued and even excited.
But that is about all her father has time to tell her. Now he is dead. Murdered, actually. Unknown to Julia, an evil man called Danilenko used his uniquely strong psychokinetic skills to torture Tony Giardani near to his death and then let him die in his burning bookstore. Not without his own powers, Tony resists revealing the one thing that Danilenko wants - the location of the sacred and powerful Giardani heirloom. Danilenko's obsession is to find this powerful treasure so that he can dilute it to gain eternal life.
In going through her father's house preparing for its sale, Julia locates three postcards that her father planted in one of her books that give vague hints on the next steps that she should take to reclaim the Giuliana legacy. With a calm certainty, Julia embarks for Cyprus.
Unknowingly, Julia is not alone in her quest. Tony Giardani transmitted his concerns for Julia and his fears of Danilenko's ambitions to Madame Racine and the Alliance, a group of men and women located worldwide, most with psychic abilities that first came together to help the Alliance Task Force combat Hitler. Madame Racine's history with the Giardani family dates back lifetimes, to a long ago time "when the rhythms of Nature's wheel turned year into peaceful year, unbroken by civilized man's uncivil attempts at domination." It is the hope of the Alliance to bring back the old Mysteries for the new millennium as they share a vision of global renewal. Therefore, Madame Racine must find a way to help Julia without breaching the cohesion of the inner circle.
Thus, Madame Racine arranges for Andrei Anatolin (a good friend's son) to be in place to cross paths with Julia just as her budding powers emerge in Cypress. Andrei is a handsome Russian who has lived a decade in exile and is now seeking a monastic life. He is also a parapsychologist, the perfect person to help Julia understand her new experiences while in Cyprus. From the start it is obvious that there is an attraction between the two that transcends the moment. However, as strong as the attraction is, neither is willing to admit it.
What ensues is Julia's awakening of her own soul's special gifts while she pieces together her ancestor's legacy of the mystical and the healing traditions. She learns that she is Lady reincarnate, the servant for the Goddess of Divine Love, also known as Aphrodite. She now also understands the true nature of Aphrodite, not the bad rap that's been passed down through history. As she reclaims the family home, she gains an insight into why her grandmother "dropped the ball" forcing Julia to retrieve the legacy for future generations. During this time, Danilenko is still pursuing the heirloom, threatening to debase the sacred. It is Julia' s (Giuliana's) goodness and love that must combat Danilenko's evil. As her father presaged, the events culminate on May Eve as the streghe convene for a spellbinding reunion with the Giardani Heiress.
This novel is absolutely captivating. I found myself getting up in the middle of night just to read more, especially when I had other things troubling my mind. In fact, (others have said this so I'm not original here) I hadn't had this feeling while reading a novel since reading The Mists of Avalon. The hypnotic qualities of the novel allowed me to shut out everything around me propelling me into Julia's beautiful world. It's hard to imagine how a writer can bring out such natural joy and goodness in a character without sugarcoating or overly sentimentalizing, but Alexis Masters has accomplished this and more. It is most likely due to her solid research in the Greek Goddess Aphrodite and an expression of her own personal belief system. I also think that this novel works because the main character has to make the mystical happen in today's world, one that obviously is far removed from the ancient Goddess worship. Julia may be the stuff of legends but she still wears leggings. Somehow Julia stays real in a world full of magic and hope.
Since the novel is classified as "Visionary Fiction," I believe that The Giuliana Legacy has been mainly marketed to those already sensitive to the more mystical aspects of life. I assure you (and probably unfortunate for me) I am not one of these people. The closest I've come to meditating is self-hypnosis used a long time ago to help me quit smoking. I am not trying to discredit those more in touch with the world around them. But I think its important that you understand where I'm coming from so that you don't assume this book isn't for you and miss out on reading a truly enjoyable novel. I also think the novel has broader appeal than that which is enjoyed by Fantasy Fiction readers, although some might put the novel in this category. Admittedly, I am fond of magical realism and I am also familiar with a lot of the concepts covered in The Giuliana Legacy such as the feminist philosophy, reincarnation, and goddess worship. And I am a pacifist which became even more evident to me after September 11. Even though I didn't find any new revelation while reading the book, as some claim, I did like the overall message. I also felt that Masters enhanced my understanding of these areas with her great knowledge in ancient religion and Goddess spirituality. If Masters' only goal was to provide us with an historical education, then she would have centered this novel in the past. I believe she chose to set this in the current day to emphasize that there is hope that the world once again can be devoted to Divine Love. I like that idea. O.K. so maybe it is Fantasy. But, maybe it could happen...
There is one more thing that I have to mention about this novel. The scenery. I don't care if you are reading this book in the middle of the cold night with only one light on in the whole house, you will be transported to the beautiful and sunny climes of Cyprus and Tuscany. Without having ever been to either of these places, I feel like I have "memories" of my visit. One can't help but experience joy while reading this novel.
I hated coming to the end of this novel. At least there is some consolation in knowing that The Giuliana Legacy is only the first book in a planned trilogy.
- Amazon readers rating: from 18 reviews
Read an excerpt from the Giuliana Legacy at MostlyFiction.com
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- The Giuliana Legacy (2000)
- Giuliana's Challenge
- The Lady Giuliana
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- The Official Giuliana Legacy Web site
- Reading Guide for The Giuliana Legacy
- Rambles review of The Giuliana Legacy
- CurledUp.com review of The Giuliana Legacy
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About the Author:
Alexis Masters lifelong mystic, scholar and kriya yoga practitioner, holds a bachelor of arts in transpersonal psychology from Antioch University, where she also pursued graduate work in feminist theology and comparative religion. A great lover of world travel, her research in ancient religion and Goddess spirituality has taken her to the far reaches of the Mediterranean. Alexis lives with her husband, Christopher Gilmore, in Northern California, where she is hard at work on her next novel, the sequel to The Giuliana Legacy. Envisioned as the second volume in a trilogy, Giuliana's Challenge chronicles more of the adventures of the Giardani family and the Goddess they serve.