Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Wrong Blood

By:  Manuel de Lope

In the Basque Country in northern Spain, just before the Civil War, three men in dinner suits stop for a drink at a bar before continuing on their way to a wedding. Their trip is interrupted when their leader, the wealthy Don Leopoldo, has a stroke in the restroom.This event, bizarre and undignified though it is, begins to weave together the lives of two remarkable women: the bride, the beautiful and distinguished Isabel Cruces, and María Antonia Etxarri, the bar owner's adolescent daughter. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, María Antonia is raped and Isabel's newlywed husband, Captain Julen Herraiz, is shot. Both women find themselves violently altered, alone, and pregnant. A crippled but wise local doctor is the only witness to the mysterious, silent agreement these women conclude in the loneliness and desperation of their mutual suffering. Many years later, a young student, grandson to Isabel, returns to the scene of the events to spend an innocent summer studying for law exams. As he goes about his work, he unwittingly awakens the ghosts haunting both María Antonia and the doctor, and through their memories the passionate stories of the past unfurl before the reader.

As an American I had a little bit of trouble with this book.  I wasn't too familiar with the Spanish Civil War.  Apparently, my parents weren't either.  Before I started reading the book I asked them when it was.  They look at each other and decided on 1903.  In the very beginning of the book it has a little bit of backstory about the Spanish Civil War which took place from 1936-1939.   I thought that was really nice to include that, it was very informative.

This book was originally published in Spanish and has been recently translated to English.  It's beautifully written.  The words and descriptions are beautiful and lyrical.  The only problem I had was I kept trying to sound out all the people and place names and I wasn't doing to well with that.  I'm sure it would have been really amusing to someone eavesdropping.

I thought it was exquisitely written and I found myself really drawn into the story.  It's told in snippets and flashbacks that all start coming together to tell the whole story.  I like that storytelling style a lot.  I like to see how it starts tying together.

Go check it out.  It goes on sale Sept. 28.

**I received a copy of this book free through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review which I have provided**

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