Told in alternating bits between 1936 and the present day, between the cities of Valencia of the past and the present and Cornwall of then and now this story kept me on the edge.
Emma Temple holds the key to opening secrets buried for decades. Buried for so many reasons - security, safety, embarrassment, anger, shame, suspicion, love affairs best forgotton, traitorous actions which have not been forgotton. An absolute can of worms.
And can Ms Lord Brown write! the story telling is evocative, spell binding, mesmerising. Descriptions are so alive that you feel the actual action happening on the page. It was almost like watching a movie because words brought everything to life.
Emma inherits a house in Valencia from her mother who has just passed away. Bereft after a disastrous love affair which has torn her faith in human beings (her lover and her best friend) she also discovers she is pregnant. Emma decides to go to Valencia and take up residence in this dilapidated house which has to be rebuilt. During this arduous process, Emma discovers one by one facets of her own life being revealed to her linked to her grandmother Freya in Cornwall and how and why the secrets of Valencia were kept unrevealed for so many, many years.
The Spanish Civil War - brutal and inhuman, the enormous loss of life, how it turned Spaniard against a fellow Spaniard is brought to life in this story. Alongside it the story of Emma's ancestors and it brought to my mind that any war civil or otherwise has such untoward effects on the everyday life of the average man in the street.
A compelling read and one I would highly recommend.