Greek-American Author Marianne Aleck traces her family history to reveal a story worthy of a soap opera. Learn about The Liberty Club and read our review.
Meet Greek-American Author Marianne Aleck
Last fall, I had the pleasure to meet Greek-American Author Marianne Aleck at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church festival in Sacramento. There, I learned all about her first book, a memoir called The Liberty Club.
Born and raised in Oroville, CA, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, the daughter of Johnny, a Greek-American, and Monique, her French-born mother, traces her Greek roots to the island of Evia.
One of seven children, she recalled growing up with her extended family, including her Greek grandparents and her French grandmother, all immigrants. Their Greek and French identities were ever-present and influential in her upbringing. Marianne explained.
“With a Greek father, French mother, and a litter of clamorous children, I knew our family was a little more unique than most. I was aware our palates enjoyed a much wider variety of delicious dishes. I recall friends crinkled their noses when I bragged about having moussaka for dinner. ‘Moooo-what?’, they’d joke. My Yia Yia cured the BEST Greek olives from the Mission Olive trees in her front yard, but I wasn’t crazy about my Pappou’s mouth-puckering Retsina wine! Unfortunately Oroville doesn’t have a Greek Orthodox Church so we were raised Catholic from my mother’s side. I would have loved to have gone to Greek school.”
Marianne displayed an early interest in journalism — in high school, she wrote a sports column for the school newspaper — she never really pursued it. Though she’s dabbled in writing poetry and short stories, The Liberty Club is her first published work.
Inspiration for The Liberty Club
Published in December 2015, The Liberty Club was inspired by something her beloved mother told her.
“She would tell these amazing stories of growing up during the war, and her life as a youngster, then end it with, ‘Someday I should write a book about my life.’ That coupled with my Greek father’s WWII stories, and the colorful characters that make up my Greek family, well, I knew I had a story to tell.”
After she retired, she began her research.
“At first I just wanted to preserve the tales for my nieces and nephews, but then the more I dug the more I realized the journey of my ancestors read like fiction. I was encouraged by my editor’s words, ‘People will fall in love with your family.’ So, I took a chance, and here we are!”
About The Liberty Club
Finding her mother’s teenage journal sends Marianne on a quest to learn her family’s history. Through her parents love letters, plus extended research and interviews with family and close friends, she unearths their story. Set just before WWII to the present, The Liberty Club chronicles her family history, from Greece and France to the U.S. It tells the story of her parents’ meeting, when her father, Johnny, served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army during WWII, and her mother, Monique, was just a teenager growing up in France. Follow their love story, to their marriage, and the betrayal that nearly derailed their dreams. It traces Monique’s journey to the U.S., as well as that of her mother and sister, and how an unlikely family came together to forge a new life against the odds, along the backdrop of Grandpa Gus’ bar, called The Liberty Club. The book includes 185 photographs that really bring the characters to life.
Review of The Liberty Club
In The Liberty Club we meet this prominent Oroville family and learn their history. Spanning a century, several generations, and three countries, this family memoir uncovers a colorful cast of characters, with lives that could be fodder for any soap opera. With WWII history, a wartime love story, immigration, extended families, dreams, betrayal, tragedy, and more — even a shocking revelation about her grandparents’ businesses — there’s something here for everyone. Marianne Aleck puts it all out there, to reveal a loving family just like ours — raising a family, striving for a better life, for happiness.
The Liberty Club has been well-received, garnering 32 five-star reviews and 2 four-star reviews on Amazon, as well as great reviews on Goodreads. It’s also been a selection in several book clubs. Marianne said she receives many messages from readers.
“They say how much it reminded them of their own families. The Liberty Club has inspired many readers to begin tracing their own roots.”
Currently, Marianne is writing a screenplay for The Liberty Club.
“Since the book spans over 100 years and 4 generations, it really does lend itself to a series. I’d love for a Greek producer or someone involved with Amazon Studios or Netflix Original Content to read my book and see for themselves the potential. So for now, I’m still promoting The Liberty Club. I consider it my, To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Connect with Marianne Aleck: Website, Facebook-Marianne’s page, Facebook- The Liberty Club page, Twitter, Instagram
The Liberty Club
By: Marianne Aleck
Publisher: Marianne Aleck
Read more book reviews:
See more reviews in our annual Summer Reading Guide:
Summer Reading Guide 2018 goes live mid-June
Find more in Books
We need your help!
Thanks for reading! You’re part of a growing audience around the globe that relies on WindyCity Greek to discover the Best of the Greek World. It’s becoming more and more expensive to produce this publication and maintain the site. We want to keep our publication and website free, so people across the globe may find out about the innovative and exciting endeavors of Greeks around the world. If you’re enjoying this magazine and site, we humbly ask you for your support, so we may continue to bring you the Best of the Greek World. We appreciate it! Sponsor us today!
Latest posts by Maria A. Karamitsos (see all)
- Greek Start-up: GrowthMentor Helps Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses - February 13, 2019
- Greek-American in Greece: Meet Stamatia Turner [Q&A] - February 6, 2019
- Father Panagiotis Malamis: Serving Chicago’s Greek Orthodox Faithful for 50 Years - January 30, 2019