Full Circle - Synopsis
Novel – Historical Fiction
Stolen Beauty meets Prague Spring
When Russians invade Prague, a young medical student kills a soldier in self-defence. As authorities hunt for her, she is smuggled beyond The Iron Curtain and sneaks across borders to reach the USA.
All Ana ever wanted was to become a doctor and use her skills to help people. However, when she reconnects with her childhood friend Jan, her entire life is turned upside down. She finds herself in opposition to her parents, the university, and even the local authorities, and eventually, the Russian government.
As a Jew, Ana’s mother Helen experienced unimaginable suffering and cruelty in the concentration camps during World War II. These experiences left her with lifelong psychological difficulties. Ana’s father Pavel and Helen worked hard to shield Ana from the horrors they had faced during the war. However, as Ana becomes more involved in activism in Prague with Jan, Helen becomes increasingly fearful for her only child. She worries that Ana will reject her experience and warnings.
During the Soviet invasion of Prague, Jan and Ana find themselves on the front lines of the protest. In the chaos, Ana accidentally kills a soldier and lives in constant fear of being discovered. She turns to Jan for comfort, only to discover that he is becoming increasingly withdrawn and erratic. Ana hopes her love can pull him back from his extreme ideas, but tragically, Jan self-immolates as a political statement.
Ana is crushed by Jan’s death, as helping people was her life mission, and all her hopes and dreams are now in tatters. She doubts herself and everything she once believed in. Knowing that the Soviets will soon be hunting her down, Ana formulates a daring plan to be smuggled beyond the Iron Curtain to the United States. Helen is heartbroken to let go of her only child but knows it’s the only way to ensure Ana’s safety. She makes Ana promise to never look back and focus on her new life in the United States.
Twenty years later, Ana is still keeping her promise. When the Berlin Wall falls in 1989, and the Velvet Revolution swiftly follows in Prague, Ana’s daughter Yael wants to know her mother’s secretive story, which Ana shares with her. With the election of a new president in Czechoslovakia, Ana knows it’s time to return to Prague and close the circle with the ghosts she left behind.
“Full Circle” raises important questions about what is more important in life: sticking to one’s ideals and principles or doing whatever it takes to survive. It challenges us to reconsider our understanding of freedom, bravery, and strength.