“A heart touching and inspiring story of a young woman's drive to overcome obstacles and learn to love. Set in a different place and era, with a touch of Hawaiian folklore, readers will root for Cassandra to grow into the woman she longs to be.” ~Jane Ameel, former Director, Waukesha, Wisconsin, Public Library
“Barbara Bras has a refreshing style that is easy and effortless. Her expressions and details are what writers long for and readers hope to absorb.” ~Linda Barnett-Johnson, Professional Virtual Assistant for Authors
“She Who Knows, A Tale of the Heart tells the compelling story of Cassandra. Bras' fascinating tale captures the inner struggles of her character with imagination and sensitivity, and in the lush tropical setting, you'll find yourself rooting for Cassie to find her way through her life's hardships until the tender, satisfying conclusion. An unforgettable read!” ~Kim Kendall, kimkendallauthor.com
“This delightful story captivated my attention and kept me reading to the end of the book. Cassandra is a real and engaging character, and the conflicts that she faces throughout the story had me turning the pages to discover how things were resolved. I loved the Hawaiian setting in this story and her use of the Menehunes and their gift added an interesting twist. I highly recommend this book.” ~Holly E. Messick, Author and retired Librarian
“Reminiscent of Dickens, She Who Knows, A Tale of the Heart, is a warm, engaging, delightful story that will change your heart as well. Well-written with a touching story line and vivid imagery, author Barbara Bras has created a jewel of a book.” ~Lori A. Moore, Award-Winning Author, loriamoore.com
"I loved this story and breezed straight through it. It serves as a well-written reminder to honor the present and never take for granted the life and love you are given." ~Kylie Crawford TenBrook, attorney
“Bras gives wings to your soul and light to your heart in her delightful and heartwarming tale about Cassie. Set within a lush and sometimes magical Hawaiian landscape, the story will invoke a sense of youth’s blossoming and emergence from isolation like The Secret Garden. Though Cassie believes the mystical Menehune’s Gi & is what makes her powerful, she discovers, similar to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, that real magic is within, as she unearths pathways to heal her heart. If you are young or young at heart, you will instantly embrace She Who Knows: A Tale from the Heart as a new classic for your collection.” ~Elizabeth Onyeabor, Author and Poet, elizabethonyeabor.com
“This is a sweet story of growing up unloved and alone -- and finding both love and 'family' after years of searching.” ~Bill Worth, novelist and editor
Barbara Savagian Bras was born the oldest of five children and grew up in the blue collar community of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born to an Armenian father and an English-German mother, she was raised in the conservative Lutheran tradition. She explains that her early life in the 1960’s was a protected bubble and as she looks back it was as if she just floated along for the first 20 years.
After following her first husband to Hawaii she graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and returned to a small town in Wisconsin to teach high school. Although she loved teaching she decided that she needed a new career path, and took a position as a field sales representative for a national company. This was the first step in a thirty year journey. Learning as she went, Barbara’s work included program management, training and development, organization development, consulting and executive leadership. Ultimately she enjoyed leadership roles as Vice President of Human Resources for We Energies and Best Western International, Inc. Along the way she remarried and raised four children.
During most of her career Barbara took joy in the fact that she provided encouragement and comfort to those who needed it most. In 2014 she decided that her life required a different direction, one that would allow her to serve God in a more meaningful way. She believes that her new mission is to use her writing to comfort and encourage others by sharing what God has done for her, based on 2 Corinthians 1 verses 3-4. In her words; “God has allowed me to learn many lessons through my life’s heartaches. It turns out that when I truly surrender my control and trust in him with all my heart, I discover that what he has in mind for me is always greater than what I could have imagined!”
Barbara lives with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona, but she also spends time with family in Wisconsin. Her first book, #1 Amazon bestseller, Wrapped in God's Grace: A Life Rediscovered, released in 2015.
Isolated on a Maui mountaintop, Cassandra has only her imagination to keep her company. Shut in due to her heart condition and shut out emotionally by her father, she meets the Menehune in a dream. Their "Gift" enables her to take the first step away from her loneliness. Along the way she finds an amazing woman in the grandmother she never knew and experiences true friendship with a new classmate. Eventually she learns that to love another she must open her heart, even if it means it may break.
The little girl held her father’s hand tightly as they boarded the ship for Maui. No pleasure ships had operated between the islands since Pearl Harbor. The vessel held supplies and a few business people. In 1945, a little girl properly dressed for travel wore a dress and pinafore, with hair perfectly curled into long dark ropes and a large pink bow fastened on top.
She knew her mother was gone. Suddenly sick and then gone forever. Cassandra couldn’t remember much about her even now except that she would call her over; drawing her so close that Cassandra could smell her rosewater.
“Keep your eyes and ears open – you never know what you are going to see.” Other times she would hold Cassandra tightly and whisper into her ear, “My dear girl, my dear Cassandra, think well of your mother, and help your father. Remember, nothing is ever what it appears to be.” None of it made much sense to five- year-old Cassandra, but her mother’s sweet smell lingered in her mind and she repeated her words often so that she would never forget. Even now as she thought of it, she swallowed a small sob.
The day her mother died, she stood in the dining room and watched silently as they took her still body out the front door. She didn’t cry, she simply observed it as if in a dream. Afterward, her father walked toward her, knelt down and looked into her face, right into her eyes. She stepped away from him; seeing him so close frightened her. She saw no hint of softness, only his somber serious look, the large dark beard and those black eyes boring into hers. “Cassandra, your mother is gone now and I am afraid the timing couldn’t be worse. You know what the doctors said at Children’s Hospital, we have to do something quickly or you will never get better.” His stern voice didn’t invite a response, but Cassandra nodded her head the tiniest bit anyway. Yes, she remembered. “Cassandra, listen to me. I must send you away, to your grandparents’ home on Maui, where I grew up. When you recover, you can return home to Oahu. Do you understand?” He didn’t wait for her to answer; instead, he rose, turned and left the room. She stood there.
No, she didn’t understand at all, except that he wouldn’t be with her and he would leave her in Maui, alone. The next day her father accompanied her to the ship. This time he didn’t look her in the eyes, instead he towered over her, staring out at the ocean. “You must understand Cassandra; being in the mountain air will help you get better. You won’t be completely alone. Your nurse will be with you and Mr. and Mrs. Morimoto have lived there since I was a child. I cannot stay with you because I have my law practice to attend to.” Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, “But I will come see you as often as I can.”
She knew she shouldn’t cry and make him angry, but the hot tears escaping down her cheeks had a mind of their own. No more mother and her father would leave her in a strange place. Adopting her father’s austere manner, she stood up as tall as she could, wiped the tears from her cheeks and stoically looked forward.