I learned so much!

filled star filled star filled star filled star star unfilled
kyraillion Avatar


Currently, I'm wavering between 3 and 4 stars for this book. Since I learned so much, I'm going with 4.

I came into this book knowing next to nothing about the Spanish Civil War. I knew that it happened, but not when or why. Honestly, I didn't realize it connected to Franco. As embarrassing as that is to say, I'm much more versed in earlier European history and how it pertains to Christianity and Islam than I am in the regime changes of the past 100 years. So, I was thrilled to learn something new.

I also wound up enjoying the characters, although many were not as well-rounded as I would have liked. Sometimes that is the risk with having multiple POV characters. The use of third-person point of view helped keep the flow between so many POV characters. It was always easy to know from which character's perspective I was reading. I wound up wanting to know more about them all, especially Puri.

The author does a fantastic job at establishing both the setting and the tension of the plot. For the first 80% or so of the book, it is wonderfully believable. The twists and turns make sense and are engaging. It felt like I was actually walking around in Madrid.

My complaint with this book is the saccharine ending. Everything after the time skip jarred against the earlier narrative. Things wrapped up far too nicely, in my opinion. SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH: [You mean to tell me that Daniel and Anna both NEVER got with anyone or even tried to date over the span of nearly 17-18 years? Then they simply fall back into their budding relationship like they haven't spent the better part of two decades apart? You mean to tell me that of all the babies stolen in Spain, suddenly Clover/Chris is Julia's missing baby?]

It feels like there are too many unnecessary and gargantuan stretches here. That's my main complaint about this book. To me, the ending detracts from the tension of the story. Also, I felt like Puri's story was not truly resolved. She needed another chapter in there somewhere to explain her path in life.

Overall, this was an enjoyable and educational read. I finished Before We Were Yours earlier in the year and this book reminds me of a YA and Spanish take on a similar atrocity. It makes me wonder just how much we do not know about our own world and our own pasts.