Women’s fiction/ contemporary romance
Date Published: August 7, 2015
In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.
The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.
EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.
Date Published – January 7, 2016
Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift…
In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.
Evanthia's Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.
Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.
Fed up was an understatement. It was one thing for Richie to be rude and inconsiderate to her, but to treat their son as if he was an old rag tossed aside after waxing his car was inexcusable.
Snatching her navy trench coat off the banister as she came down the staircase, Donna pulled it on, yanking the belt a little tighter than needed. At seven in the evening it was still daylight, yet there were remnants of last winter’s chill blowing in the breeze.
Loud music was blasting from the garage. Empty beer bottles lined the floor against the wall and a cigarette bobbed up and down from the side of Richie’s mouth as he screamed out the words to ‘Born in the USA.’ Donna watched him, anger increasing by the second as he tinkered with that stupid-ass car he called a classic.
Spotting where he’d placed the boom box, Donna calmly walked over and pulled the plug. Richie looked up to see what had happened and saw his wife holding the disengaged plug in her hand.
“What the fuck?”
“Get your ass out of this garage, change your clothes and be ready to leave in five minutes,” Donna demanded.
“We have tickets to your son’s play.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake! We’ve been over this. The kid isn’t even in the play.”
“The kid,” she annunciated, “designed and painted the scenery. He’s proud of what he accomplished and he’d like to share that with his parents.” She walked further into the garage and rested her hand on the old green car. “Anthony wants your acceptance. He needs you to be there for him the way you are for RJ.”
“When he takes up a sport, I’ll be there for him,” Richie said, lowering his head into the hood of the engine.
“You son of a bitch! Don’t you dismiss me that way. Get your ignorant head out of that car and look at me.” Donna was seething. “You know damn well Anthony’s interests are in the arts, not in sports. RJ fulfilled your dream of getting a football scholarship. You’re proud and you should be. I am too. But you should be equally proud of Anthony. He’s making his mark in a different way.”
“I can’t be proud of a sissy. When he takes up a hobby or a sport I can relate to, I’ll be right behind him.”
“Don’t. You. Ever—ever use derogatory words to describe our son.” The Italian mama was about to unleash her wrath on her husband and if she didn’t rein it in, she might split his head open with the sledgehammer she spotted in the corner. “Our son is gay. It does not make him a sissy. He’s a better man than you will ever be.”
“Gay? I never said he was gay. He just doesn’t like manly things.”
“Richie. Open your eyes. Your son is gay.”
“You’re crazy. No son of mine would be like that.” A look of disgust crossed his face.
“Why not? Do you have special gay-resistant sperm?”
“He just wouldn’t.” He slammed the hood of the car closed. “Are you trying to piss me off? Did he tell you he was gay?”
Donna shook her head, the corners of her mouth forming a smile that mocked him. “No. He didn’t need to tell me. I’ve always known. I’m his mother.”
Donna turned her back on him and left for the theater. She didn’t need him and at this point she didn’t want him to be there. Demi and Sophia were meeting her at the school and, after the show they would take all the children out for a bite to eat.
“Where would you like to go?” Donna asked Anthony. “It’s your choice.”
“We were all just saying how we haven’t been to the Northport Sweet Shop in a while. I’d love an ice cream float.”
“Ice cream,” Cia repeated.
“When was the last time we split one of those mega sundaes?” Evvie asked Kristos.
“Mr. Panarites always gives me extra cherries,” Stella said.
It was a weekday and the season had not begun for the summer crowd to invade the quaint town. Finding a couple of tables to occupy in the legendary local ice cream store was not a problem. The teens and a very enthusiastic three year old sat at one table, while their mothers occupied another.
“What a dick,” Demi mouthed.
Sophia scolded her with admonishing eyes.
“What?” she whispered.”
“Did he ask you why his dad wasn’t here tonight?” Sophia asked.
“No. He’s been distracted with the excitement of the play and your kids being here.” Donna ran her hands through her hair. “He knows the deal. He’s not stupid. I’ve spoken to him and he knows his father’s shortcomings. Still, there are times when I catch him staring out a window or at his computer with a dispirited expression.”
“What about you? How are you doing?” Demi sipped her hot cocoa.
“I don’t know how much more of this I can take. RJ is settled in college and once Anthony graduates and goes off also, that’s it. I’m done.”
“Why would you wait two years? It doesn’t sound like Richie has much to do with Anthony anyway,” Demi asked.
“I don’t want to be the one to break up my family. I want Anthony to at least have what little relationship he can with his father until he leaves for school.”
“In light of how Richie behaved tonight, I’m not sure that’s possible,” Sophia added. “I don’t know how someone changes that much. He was always such a good guy.”
“As long as he was the center of attention and life was going his way. But he didn’t factor in that when high school is over, it’s over.” Donna was frustrated and disillusioned. She wished she’d opened her eyes before the wedding. “Everyone is on the same playing field and no one cares how popular you were when you were seventeen.” Donna pressed her fingers to her temples. “We need to change the subject. Please. I’m starting to get a headache.”
Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.
Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.
Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.
Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.
As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.
Website: (foodblog) https://cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com
Landing page for both books