The Fortress: A Love Story

Danielle Trussoni's 2007 memoir, Falling Through the Earth, reflected how her parents' divorce affected her. Nine years later, in The Fortress, Trussoni (Angelopolis) recounts her efforts to spare her children from similar pain while waging an ultimately unsuccessful battle to save her own marriage.

Nikolai, a young Bulgarian novelist, sweeps Danielle off her feet when they meet as graduate students in Iowa. Both recently divorced, they form a fast and intense new romance. When Nikolai needs to return to Bulgaria to renew his expired visa, she and her toddler readily accompany him. But once they arrive, she learns that the required stay is two years rather than the few months Nikolai had implied and that she is pregnant. They eventually return to the States as a married couple with two children, but after several difficult years, Danielle is desperate for change. In a dramatic play to save the marriage, she and Nikolai purchase a medieval fortress in a French village and move the family there. The romantic setting becomes a battleground where Danielle tries to protect her children and save herself from Nikolai's manipulations and increasing instability.

Trussoni's depiction of her relationship with Nikolai is strewn with red flags and warning signs, and she vividly conveys its unraveling. The reader knows from the outset that this mission to France will fail, but is compelled to see how it unfolds. The Fortress is an intimate and intense portrayal of a troubled marriage as seen by the woman who emerged from it scarred but stronger. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

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