- Headline Publishing Group
- Publication Date:
- 16 April 2009
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-4 out of 23 reviews. Previous | Next
This novel was an unexpected gem. To help explain how riveting it was for me: it takes me awhile to get into new books, and I have never really been able to read more than a page or two while flying as planes scare me to death. I started this novel on a cross-country flight and it was so good there were moments I forgot I was in a plane!The novel contains the present-day story of Sonia, an Englishwoman who is learning to dance salsa and flamenco and goes to Granada to further her dancing skills. She is unhappily married to a stuffy, likely alcoholic, man named James and the trip to Granada clarifies her feelings about her marriage.Set into, and connected with, Sonia's own story, is the story of the Ramirez family, which Sonia learns slowly through her conversations with Miguel, the elderly owner of a cafe she frequents in Granada. Miguel illuminates for Sonia, and for the readers, the little-known history of the Spanish civil war and the rise of fascism in Spain. The history is brought to life through the story of the Ramirezes, whose family and history is irrevocably altered by the civil war. Yes, the novel is a bit predictable in some places. But it is also illuminative, gut-wrenching, and thought-provoking. Beautiful language and an engrossing plot bring history to life.
I adored this book and didn't want it too end. A wonderful mix of travel, history and discovery, along with flamenco dancing. This has stimulated me to listen to Spanish guitar artists.
Synopsis:Sonia visits Granada to celebrate a friend's birthday with a dance class. Unfamiliar with the city's past and the brutality under Franco's regime, a chance encounter at a neighborhood cafe introduces Sonia to the brave and complex story of the Rodriguez family's suffering and survival through the Spanish civil war.Seventy years earlier, Concha and Pablo owned and managed the same cafe with no notion of the danger and pain that would soon visit their family. Their eldest son, Antonio, is an idealistic young teacher. Their second child, Ignacio, is a star matador. Their only daughter, Mercedes only loves to dance and would spend her days honing her skills with their third child, Emilio, a gifted musician. But when Ignacio is seduced by General Franco's policies, the civil war tears the family apart.Book Review:Beautifully written, The Return transports you to the Spain during the complex and extraordinary time of the Spanish Civil War. You will be drawn in as Concha and Pablo try to keep the Rodriguez family together and safe. The children battle their fates. Bullfights, Spanish dancers, Federico Garcia Lorca, warring brothers, loving parents, and star-crossed lovers, the story offers beauty, drama and violence. The stories of love and sorrow will linger with you for a long time.Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (October 6, 2009), 416 pages.Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
After being blown away by "The Island" I immediately ordered "The Return" and I am not disappointed. I am now an official Victoria Hislop fan. Her novels are to be savored and enjoyed. "The Return" begins in recent times in England. Readers are introduced to a middle aged woman named Sonia. This part is very similiar to "The Island" as both heroines are having relationship issues and are both facing similiar difficult choices.. basically "stay with this jerk or leave" type choices. I found parts of the book regarding Sonia rather predictable but that did not deter me. Sonia and her friend take up salsa dancing and after finding some old pictures of her mother and taking a trip to Spain, Sonia becomes fascinated with the story of the Ramirez family. The middle part of the book is about the Ramirez family and Spain's Civil War in the 1930s. There is a mother, Concha and father, Pablo. They run a cafe and for a while things are wonderful in their life. Their oldest son, Antonio is a teacher. Their middle son, Ignacio is a bull fighter. Their youngest son, Emilio is slowly taking over the cafe and has a passion for music. The daughter, Mercedes is a talented flamenco dancer. The Ramirez family's world shatters with the beginning of the war as their sons oppose each other, betray each other, and one by one, the family members are arrested, killed, or face some life changing complication due to the war. There is a romance between Mercedes and a guitarist, Javier. She spends the duration of the war searching for her love and taking many risks to find him. She never loses her love of dancing tho and she brightens many a person's day with her skills. Even in times of war, one must find joy and express it. The last part of the novel takes readers back to present day England and Sonia must make a difficult choice after making some surprising revelations. Will the story of the Ramirez family inspire her somehow? A beautiful novel and a fabulous look at the life of Spain, the passion behind flamenco, the risks behind bullfighting, and the trials families face in civil war. Just like an appreciative audience watching a flamenco dancer tap and twirl or a bullfighter swing his cape, I say "Ole! Ole!" to this fine novel.
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