“Everything was dark. Though her eyes could see little, her other senses became acute, telling her she wasn’t dreaming. Terror reached down into the pit of her stomach as her worst fear was revealed by the sound of whirring jets and the sensation of changing air pressure—she was on an airplane…was she really being deported? Even after everything that led up to this, it was unbelievable.”
A novel by
Gregory Erich Phillips
As a pre-teen, Leila made a risky escape from an evil man and a life of poverty in Colombia. Today, a full-grown woman with a seemingly perfect life and successful career, Leila is well on her way to having it all. But buried secrets have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt us, and in Gregory Erich Phillips’s new novel THE EXILE (Koehler Books; April 6, 2019; Paperback; ISBN: 978-1-6339376-5-9; $18.95) events steadily mount to a fever-pitch when Leila and others are forced to face extreme challenges to avoid losing everything they love.
It is the mid-2000s and Leila is working for one of the top mortgage brokers in Phoenix, Arizona. Her manager, Samantha, applauds Leila’s hard work while at the same time taking every opportunity to remind Leila of her Hispanic immigrant status. Leila’s perfect life begins to unravel, precipitated by the mortgage crisis of 2008 and an ill-timed romance with Samantha’s son, Ashford. Seeing Leila with her son brings all Samantha’s latent racism to the surface, and she lays down an ultimatum with disastrous consequences.
THE EXILE is a captivating story about love, family, home and the courage it takes to protect them. It is a timely novel that sheds light on the challenges faced by Hispanic immigrants living in the United States. Phillips, whose first award-winning novel Love of Finished Years depicted the complicated life of a German immigrant woman in New York during World War I, is adept at presenting events, whether current or historical, on an emotional level through his strong characters. In THE EXILE he also draws on research and professional experience to express the realities of an abrupt deportation and the fallout for well-meaning people in the mortgage business.
A prolific writer with another novel already underway, Phillips is quickly establishing himself as an author to watch. THE EXILE has already won first-place for mainstream fiction in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest and is well on its way to being on must-read lists in 2019.
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