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About the Novel

Historical fiction inspired by a true story on the island of Crete in Greece

Dramatic real life events 1930s-1970s 

By author Christina Dooley

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HE WAS THERE: A NOVEL OF DANGER AND DESTINY  is an endearing, dramatic historical-fiction adventure inspired by true happenings on the Greek island of Crete in the 1900s.  Exciting events in history punctuate a remarkable cultural backdrop as the hard-working Stavrolaki family perseveres through unique situations. 


A weaving of events lands a courageous couple in a home and business along their beautiful beach, with an archeological tourist attraction nearby.  Uprooted by the sudden assault of World War II, the growing family copes with unexpected twists and turns of battles and occupation in the remote villages.  The close calls of wartime skirmishes are offset by comical tales of survival.  The family’s resiliency continues through rebuilding, but unforeseen experiences persist.


Nikolas Stavrolaki experiments with many innovative ideas to try to improve his family's situation, while all of them, including the young children, grapple with manual labor in a vast mountainous region.  The lively village festivities and everyday agricultural life, including making olive oil, raisins, linens and delicious Greek foods are threatened by landmines, bizarre weather events, accidents, misunderstandings and even wayward farm animals. 


The romance and sense of duty of each of the growing daughters are complicated with the increased tourism and the arrival of the American military base.  Changing times and evolving technology conflict with traditional roles and attitudes, confounding already confusing life choices.  Ultimately, the family must decide what is most important and realize that while dreams and circumstances can change, love never fails.


He Was There: A Novel of Danger and Destiny is filled with comedy and tragedy but ultimately is a heart-warming and inspirational story of the bonds of love and family.  Although most would consider this work rated for general audiences, for some conservative readers (especially young children), content such as wartime violence, somewhat graphic accidents, emotional grief and adult situations may not be appropriate.  There is no foul language and adult situations are mostly implied.

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