This book's jacket states this is "the inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talents and courage to transform herself...etc.". It was a recommendation for one of my book clubs and a hefty tome, but I waded in anyway.
This is the story of a poor seamstress who falls for a jerk and gets stuck in Morocco during the Spanish Civil War, eventually returning to Spain during the early years of WWII. I have to say I did not like her. Her gullibility and willingness to be led by others (mother, boyfriend, lover, arresting officer, landlord, friends, etc.) was off putting. I kept wanting to shout at her, "think for yourself!". It took almost the first 125 pages to get to the next phase of her life and I almost gave up but finished reading to see if it would get any better. It didn't. She didn't seem to learn from her poor judgment and never developed much backbone. The last few chapters tried to make her appear "plucky" but the change was unconvincing.
Part of the problem may be that it is a translation from Spanish and the translator resorted to using the same lead in style of storytelling at the end of every chapter. The writing didn't "flow" and instead I felt it was stilted and formal. The historical perspective could have been interesting as the bibliography revealed that many of the characters were based on real people. There wasn't a convincing portrayal of the times or a "painting the picture" of the setting in historical terms that gave me an understanding of the time and place as we see everything through the eyes of our gullible and uninteresting heroine, who can hardly keep track of her own life much less grasp what is happening around her. Not a recommended read.
Published: 2011 Read: February 2013 Genre: fiction