The Normandy Coast of France, 1944
A young American Navy Lieutenant reaches out his hand to a hungry orphan boy and invites him to share a meal.
That simple act of kindness will reverberate down generations, across cultures, languages and oceans…
In this remarkable tale about the power of love, a young woman finds herself caught up in her father’s stories of his time in France during World War II and the orphan boy, Gilbert, who he tried unsuccessfully to adopt and bring home to America.
As she journeys to France to retrace her father’s footsteps, will she be able to complete what he left unfinished? Can she find Gilbert and tell him that her father never forgot him?
In this touching, true story Covington-Carter reminds us that, “in the end, it’s all about who you love and letting them know.”
Finding Gilbert is not only a memoir, it is a mystery. It is also a multi-layered story: through looking for Gilbert, the author also finds, in many ways, herself and her family.
The story is told well, in the author’s straightforward and honest voice, and the reader feels a part of her journey. And it’s satisfying that the book doesn’t end when Gilbert is found; that happens just a little more than halfway through the story. The story continues with her life and Gilbert’s and his family’s life.
The book has poignant moments; for instance, when Gilbert tells her that his father promised to come back for him. The author does a nice job of not layering these with a lot of sentiment, but letting the story speak for itself. She also weaves in background information, including family history and world history, without bogging (the reader) down in unneeded exposition.
Her choice to use narrative form is a good one; the story is believable and she makes dialogue and events that she obviously was not there for work.
Diane Covington-Carter's memoir, Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfiled, chroicles the power her father's stories about Gilbert, the orphan he tried to bring home from France in 1944, influenced and shaped her life. Will she be able to find Gilbert and tell him that her father never forgot him? One reviewer described the book as, "part memoir, part detective story, this book is a testament to both persistence and the enduring power of love."