Beneath the majestic towers of the Alhambra, Granada's cobbled streets resonate with music and secrets. Sonia Cameron knows nothing of the city's shocking past; she is here to dance. But in a quiet café, a chance conversation and an intriguing collection of old photographs draw her into the extraordinary tale of Spain's devastating civil war.
Seventy years earlier, the café is home to the close-knit Ramírez family. In 1936, an army coup led by Franco shatters the country's fragile peace, and in the heart of Granada the family witnesses the worst atrocities of conflict. Divided by politics and tragedy, everyone must take a side, fighting a personal battle as Spain rips itself apart.
For her follow-up to international bestseller The Island, British author Hislop has friends Sonia and Maggie jetting off for flamenco lessons in Granada, Spain. Sonia is escaping monotony and a souring marriage to an older man while Maggie is celebrating her 35th birthday. The trip proves an odyssey of discovery for Sonia, who over a morning cup of coffee is mesmerized by an elderly cafe owner's stories of the Spanish Civil War and the Ramirez family who once owned the cafe and were torn apart during the time of Franco and the upheaval of war. Most intriguing was the story of Mercedes, whose passion for flamenco dancing was matched only by her love for renowned guitarist Javier Montero with whom she performed. Separated from her fractured family, she set out to search for Javier in the chaos of Civil War Spain. Dance holds a place of importance in the tale, especially when Sonia learns the truth about her own mother in a twist that adds suspense to the romance and familial drama. The well-done historical background is a rewarding plus in this fast-paced account of love's power through generations.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Loved the book. Was heartbreaking but very interesting and a bit of history I wasn't really aware of.
As always, Victoria Hislop has done her homework and covers this period of modern history extremely thoroughly.
What a great book. Didn’t realise how terrifying was the Spanish Civil War. Drama, history, passion, life and death, love; it’s all here in this wonderful read.
The Return by Victoria Hislop
An amazingly poignant story that brings the horror of conflict to life depicting an incredible lack of respect for human life and the basic values that today so many of us take for granted. Everyone should read this book.