At first, the inclusion of historical documents and journalism seemed to slow down the pace of the very gradually evolving story; then, they became as compelling as the plot.
Each of the main characters circle under Franco's despotism and terror while moving together toward a deeper understanding of their changing situations and surprising dependance on each other. Franco has at last opened Spain to military, oil, and political interests from the United States. Visiting photographer Daniel joins his parents and
falls in love with Ana, the woman assigned to his family at Hotel Castellano.
The mild plot predictably gives way to an overriding fear for each of the main characters
and results in a tragic loss.
The only faltering is suspending disbelief that Daniel and Ana do not contact each other - even via Nick - for eighteen long years. Why wouldn't they check to be sure that their families, health, and lives were going along decently? A big stretch.