Saturday, August 03, 2019

Bay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley ~ Book Review

Spain of 1939 just came out of a civil war which saw a military dictator take over power from a democratically elected government.  The country is treading in fear as anyone who sympathizes with the Republicans are under suspicion and could be arrested.  Julia and her family live in poverty and fear.  In order to survive and to keep the three girls safe, plans are made.  Seventeen year old Julia is to be given to a convent in Barcelona to become a nun and one of her sisters is to marry a much older man who can take care of her.  Julia is devastated but obediently goes along with her father's wishes.  Once she becomes a nun she takes an assignment to work at a maternity clinic in Barcelona led by Dr. Lopez.   As a nun, Sister Julia quietly does what she is told, never outwardly questioning authority, but inside she is grieved at the way things are handled at the clinic.

In England in 2011, Ruby Rae is trying to get over the sudden death of her beloved parents.  After months of avoiding it, she has finally found the courage to go and deal with their home.  With the help of her friend, she starts to pack up her parent's belongings in order to sell the family home.  But when she finds a box in her mom's closet, it's contents reveal a secret her parents kept that will change Ruby's life forever.

I found this book at a Little Library in town and it looked very interesting.  It was described on the cover as "a must-have summer read" and a "gorgeous dream of a holiday read".  So I grabbed it and I'm really glad I did.  The story follows three women:  Sister Julia, Ruby and Vivien (Ruby's Mom) and also a young artist named Andres.  At first glance, it would seem that it would be way too many stories to follow and I admit it was a little bit hard to get into but once it hooked me I couldn't put it down.  It is evident the author has done her research well into historical facts and built a lovely though heartbreaking story around them. Each timeline is an interesting story in itself and the author wove them together so well.  Her descriptions of Spain, the Spanish Canary Islands and England are beautiful.  The characters are so well written, I empathized with them all as they worked through their situations and all the emotions it involved.  It's a story of love, courage, forgiveness and finding one's self.   I found writing this review hard as this is one story where you cannot give too much away, even naming the historical event, would give spoilers.  This book is why I love well written historical fiction.  It taught me about a piece of history I knew absolutely nothing about going in and made it interesting enough that I had to look it up after I finished the story.

Small warning of some language by one of the characters in case you are sensitive to that.

I gave this book a 9/10

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