First Love


5.0 out of 5 stars A true story romance, highly recommended, May 7, 2011


This review is from: First Love: Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir (Paperback)

Just because you're married doesn't mean you've known love. "First Love: Just Once in a Lifetime" is a memoir of truly finding love from Violeta Barrett, who recounts being spurned by her then husband and fleeing to Mexico, and finding what she dubbed as true love. Even though it failed to last a lifetime, it lasted for four wonderful years, and Barrett hares her story well. "First Love" is a true story romance, highly recommended.



KIRKUS INDIE REVIEW August 4, 2011 11:31 AM

Barrett, Violeta


Just Once in a Lifetime:

A Memoir

A memoir from Barrett detailing the "agony and ecstasy" of love, documented through love letters. As a young, recently separated career woman in 1956, Barrett plans a vacation to Mexico to escape from her day-to-day life on Wall Street. Traveling alone, she is met by her tour guide, Jorge, in Mexico City and taken to the Hotel Del Prado to meet with the rest of the tour group. Though Jorge is married with children, the two fall in love---ill-fated love, since divorce is impossible in the Catholic Church. Jorge's letters and the competent illustrations of his postcards---which the author includes here---have a transporting effect, conveying the beauty of Mexico and Mexican culture but also the experience of being desperately in love while separated by distance and familial and religious obligations. The narrative stretches out at first with descriptions of Xochimilco, a bullfight in Mexico City, a boat ride across Lake Patzcuaro and a night of dancing [and romancing] at the Casanova night club in Cuernevaca, finishing all too soon. The book is composed of narration and love letters....76 letters the author receives from Jorge over several years following her trip. Jorge  expresses some touching sentiments, "All the females that 1 see have something that reminds me of you ... 1 see only you in everyone." The book tells a story of endless love that comes but "solamente una vez en la vida," and leaves the reader wanting more. A memoir that has the courage to believe in eternal love, despite the pain.

Live to Read, October 6, 2011
First Love Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir 
By Chels, (Blog)
This book was really touching. I think it would be hard to feel anything but happy when you finish this book. The author writes about her experiences with love, specifically with "the one."  In Violeta's case, "the one" is Jorge. Jorge was surprisingly sweet and romantic; the reader will find him extremely likeable. Violeta herself is just as likeable. The reader will get to know Violeta very well; the author doesn't hold much back.
There is a certain intimacy that the letters provide to the overall ambiance of the story. Love stories can be told without letters, but the letters add that personal feel. There are also pictures in the memoir that the reader will be able to tell were chosen with thought and care by the author. In this case, a picture does appear to speak a thousand words. The love [songs] at the back of the memoir are beautiful too; a reader does not need to even like poetry to be able to understand this author's meaning. This book is highly recommended to adult readers. The title truly exemplifies the book.    

My Guilty Pleasures, Sharon Belcher, blogger.              October 6, 2011    

Yes, I started and finished this book in one sitting!!!! I'm a sucker for a good love story. This one tugged at my heartstrings.

Madison Who's Who Recognizes Violet J. Niggl
October 7, 2011

In order to recognize Violet Niggl one must give recognition to Violeta Barrett, as this is the pen name of Violet Niggl. Her talent for writing stories has been developing from the time she learned to write at four years old. The story "The Gift of the Maji" by William Sydney Porter, otherwise and more familiarly known as O. Henry, deeply inspired Violet with its theme of the sacrifices made for love that the author twirled within a style of wry poignancy. In addition to short stories, Violet fed her writer's temperament with poetry. As she is a child of the Great Depression, Violet spurned darker subjects filled with wrenching conflicts, and instead she spun her tales with fantasy and happily-ever-after endings. Ironically, her latest work, a memoir, though filled with happy and fantastic moments, tells a true story of love in the real world, which is complete with the heart wrenching conflicts real life brings.

One of the better pieces of advice given to writers is to write what you know. In her compelling memoir, published in English as FIRST LOVE Just Once in a Lifetime: A Memoir and in Spanish as PRIMER AMOR Solamente Una Vez en la Vida: Una Memoria, Violet, as Violeta Barrett, shares a nostalgic and emotional journey where principles, love, and obligations collide to force unexpected decisions. Through the more than seventy love letters she would receive from her lover, Jorge for the next few years, the two shared a forbidden passion—until the forces of morality prevail. Their heartfelt story proves that real love is not affected by time. It is ageless. A proof of this is Violet, who after reliving a dream 50 years later, discovered that "true love never dies." It may fade with time; it may lie dormant for years, but it remains a part of you. It is eternal.

Violeta Barrett is currently promoting her memoir. She is attending the AARP National Event, at which she'll be signing books this week in Los Angeles. She is also scheduled to appear at the Indie Author Conference in Indianapolis where a video interview will be conducted. This will be followed up by several book fests in Florida through November.

5.0 out of 5 stars RECOMMENDED TO ALL ROMANTICS OUT THERE! June 10, 2012
By Mayra Calvani "Multi-genre author and reviewer." (Brussels, Belgium)

FIRST LOVE, by Violeta Barrett is a well-written, heart-felt and honest memoir, one that reminds us that "true love never dies."

The author opens her heart and candidly shares with readers how she fell in love with her tour guide in Mexico during a holiday back in 1956. Not only that, but she also shares with us the 76 love letters that kept their relationship alive during the four years of their affair. Torn and yellowed, the letters speak for themselves in this upbeat, inspirational story.

Violeta had been working for more than a decade for a Wall Street investment firm before her trip. She was a modern, career woman, already married and separated for two years.

Stressed and overworked, she had gone to Mexico to relax and charge her batteries. But nothing prepared her for the outcome; her finding true love in the least expected circumstances. She was loved like a princess in a fairytale. How many women can say that in a lifetime?

Entertaining and uplifting, this memoir is full of ethnic, local flavor with all the sights and sounds of Mexico. The narrator's voice is honest and sensitive. This is a woman who knew real love and who's lived to tell her experience to others, to share her feelings and doubts.

Part of the book are the letters themselves, which she kept all this time, never knowing that one day she would write a book about them.

This is recommended to fans of memoirs or anybody who enjoys a good romantic tale.



KIRKUS INDIE REVIEWS  - October 4 2013

In this memoir written in third person, a widowed woman finds comfort and solace from her new relationship with a feline friend. 

After losing her husband, Barrett (First Love: Just Once in a Lifetime, 2011) vowed to never allow herself to become attached to others for fear of experiencing more loss. She made no exception for animals. However, she found herself looking forward to seeing a little, orange-striped cat on her porch each morning. Living alone in the Ontario home she once shared with her husband, Barrett slowly began to welome the companionship of the cheerful cat. Barrett tried to keep her emotional distance by only referring to him generically as"Cat" (perhaps a wink to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's). Never before a "cat person, "Barrett foresaw no risk of attachment from simply feeding the cat. Yet gradually, she became more attached to the animal and found herself missing him when he was away. Subsequently, she began to domesticate the untamed cat. Perhaps since Barrett hadn't been a cat person, she began the domestication process with leash training and field trips to the beach. In this story, she marvels at the cleverness and uniqueness of her cat but spares readers most of the mundane details about its habits; instead, in polished and clear prose, she focuses on how he affected her life, making for a more relatable story than most in the cat-book category. As Barrett's bond with the cat developed, she also built connections with other cat owners, and though the pain of her husband's loss remained, her loneliness abated, and her desire to connect with others was restored. The heartfelt story will, of course, especially appeal to those who cherish the companionship of cats or other animals. but Barrett's underlying story of recuperation and the restoration of hope may resonate with readers who have also experienced loss. Color photos, most slightly manipulated with a paintery filter, round out the comforting book.

A lighthearted, sincere story of appreciating the simple aspects of life after loss.



Author Violeta Barrett has a rare gift for creating an immediate emotional engagement and response with respect to the reader  Enhancing her superbly crafted narrative story with color photography of her little orange-striped cat that showed up one day on her porch and entered her life in so many ways, will strike a responsive chord within any reader who has loved - and ultimately lost - a precious animal companion. An entertaining read from first page to last, "Angel in Disguise" is truly extraordinary and highly recommended for personal and community library collections. It should also be noted that "Angel in Disguise" is also available in a Kindle edition. [and in a Children's Version, as well.]

I look forward to her next new title.