I really enjoyed Victoria Hislops The Island so as soon as I saw this had been released I put my name down at the library to borrow a copy. The book started well as we follow Sonia, an unhappily married woman, to Granada where she and a friend have booked a holiday and some dance lessons. We follow her as she becomes more immersed in the salsa and flamenco dances and as she meets an elderly cafe owner who begins to tell her about the family who owned the cafe at the time of the civil war.
At this point to be honest I began to get a bit confused, having no previous visits to Spain or knowledge of the Spanish Civil War to work from I war relying on the author to indicate clearly what happened, but I got a bit lost between who was on which side and what they stood for and as a result found myself scanning some of the pages whilst not fulling taking in the setting. I fully enjoyed her characterisations and this kept me reading when I otherwise may have given up.
The story of Mercedes the young Spanish girl whos love of dance and a young guitarist named Javier takes her into danger during a war which has destroyed her family is excellent but I finished the book feeling I’d missed some of the crucial elements because Hislop’s explanation of the history of the war wasn’t gripping enough to keep me reading every single word.
I also felt that the end of the book was a little rushed, with Sonia’s story being a little pushed into the last chapter and a bit. Considering the time invested in introducing this character at the start of the book it didn’t do her justice to have it crammed into this short space.
I would read another Victoria Hislop novel but this certainly is not The Island