This is a novel with a moral, that reminds us to always get the full story before judging others.
It took me a long time to read this, as I had to juggle it with review-required books, but it's a book that one needs to savor bit by bit anyway.
It goes from Paloma in 1970s France--a ballet dancer estranged from her father, living with her Spanish grandmother who is full of secrets--to Evelina in a turbulent Spain--a wealthy pampered girl I never came to like--to La Rusa, a flamenco dancer accused of betraying Evelina's family.
I won't deny that I became confused at times with jumping around, but not to the point it detracted from my enjoyment of the story and the lessons and history within. The Spanish Civil War is a difficult one to grasp--so many parties, so much hatred, so many factions, but the book simplifies it as much as a historical novel possibly can. The church, Franco, the Republicans, the Socialists...etc.
There's three romances, though I would say La Rusa's steals the show. There's secrets, lies, betrayal, and it being over 500 pages, we'd be here all day if I tried to tell you even a quarter of them. It's great story telling though and as I said above, educational about the war. I also appreciated the awareness of class division. It's something we must never forget--how it can tear apart a nation, how things can go so badly when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer... The moment we forget history is the moment we risk repeating it. That makes books like this even more important.
The dancing, the descriptions, every is vivid and beautiful with the perfect amount of description.
My only solid quibble is I freaking hated Evelina. Never came to like her. Spoiled brat, if you ask me--as a young girl, as a woman, as an old lady. I prefer to like the main players of a story--especially the heroines, and she came across as one.
"I imagined that Margarida had become a famous writer and was living in a cottage somewhere with dozens of cats. She would write about us, and we would live on her fiction."
Why don't you, like, try to do something yourself, Evelina?
I almost took away a star I hated her so much (and Conchita too), but La Rusa's experiences as an ambulance driver redeemed the book. She had enough guts for all three women combined. :)
I bought this on Amazon Kindle a long time ago. It appears to no longer be available in the States. :(