For May / June we have chosen the country Spain and the theme of history! The choices are below and you can find the voting form at the bottom!
Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
This is a thrilling historical novel of friendship and revenge, plague and hope, love and war, set in the golden age of 14th-century Barcelona. Arnau Estanyol arrives in Barcelona and joins the powerful guild of stone-workers building the magnificent cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, while his adoptive brother Joan studies to become a priest. As Arnau prospers, he secretly falls in love with a forbidden woman. When he is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself face-to-face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved cathedral is finally completed, or will his brother spare him?
The Time in Between / The Seamstress by Maria Duenas
At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew. Between War and Peace… With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiance, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes. Between Love and Duty… As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers’ wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.
The Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas
In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, fifty prominent Nationalist prisoners are executed by firing squad. Among them is the writer and fascist Rafael Sanchez Mazas, a writer and founding member of Franco’s Fascist Party. As the guns fire, he escapes into the forest, and can hear a search party and their dogs hunting him down When his hiding place is discovered, he faces death for the second time that day-but is spared, this time by a lone soldier. The POW becomes a national hero and a member of Franco’s first government, while the soldier is forgotten. Sixty years later, Cercas’s novel peels back the layers of truth and propaganda in order to discover who the real hero was. Elegantly constructed and told with self-deprecating, melancholy humor, Soldiers of Salamis is a wholly original work of literature by a modern master.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron
The discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive… Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘cemetery of lost books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print.
To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945.
Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘La Sombra del Viento’ by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find.
Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil.
This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them.
What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind.