I’m delighted today to be helping launch the blog tour for The Spanish Girl by Jules Hayes, and to share my publication day review. Published by Orion Dash, it’s now available for kindle via Amazon in the UK and US, and on all other major ebook platforms. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my early e-copy.
Over Christmas 2019, I had the great privilege of being an early reader of Jules’ last book, The Walls We Build: I really loved it (you’ll find my review here) – a wonderfully told story, set against a vividly drawn wartime backdrop – and went on to include it in my Books of the Year list for 2020. So when she asked me again, to read this one over Christmas 2020, I was really thrilled – this was a book, a long time in the making, that I was particularly looking forward to, and it certainly didn’t disappoint in any way. I’m just hoping she’s working on my Christmas reading for 2021 – although I think she might well be otherwise occupied with her first psychological thriller for Canelo, The Nurse (under the name of JA Corrigan, available for preorder) out on 20th May, with another to follow.
Let’s take a closer look…
A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth…
Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past.
As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart.
But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…?
Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love. Perfect for fans of Angela Petch’s The Tuscan Secret and Kathryn Hughes’ The Letter.
The book really took off for me when the action went back to 1937 – Jack’s experiences as he pursues his errant brother across Europe, the wonderful supporting characters, and all the immense complexities around the players and politics of the Spanish Civil War about which I was extraordinarily ignorant. I was equally clueless about the present day reverberations – and learned a lot as the two stories unfolded in tandem. The whole family story is exceptionally well told against an enthralling and immaculately researched historical backdrop – villainy and passion, with strong characters who spring to life from the pages.
The writing is really excellent. There are scenes and moments that will long stay in the memory – heartbreaking and emotional, dramatic and shocking – as both stories twist and turn revealing layers of secrets that kept me entirely engaged, the pages turning ever faster. There’s no wrenching when moving between the past and present, and the way it is all pulled together towards the book’s conclusion is very cleverly done, the climactic scenes both gripping and emotional. And I really must mention – without spoiling it, of course – the ending, which was emotionally so perfectly judged, beautifully done, and moved me to tears.
This is a book that will delight anyone who enjoys well researched and written historical fiction, convincing and wholly engaging romances in the past and present day, a richly drawn backdrop that both supports and drives the story, along with a sweeping, compelling and totally heartbreaking story. Clearly written from the heart, and I recommend it very highly.
About the author
Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.
Jules Hayes can be found at:
Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: