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The Poet's Wife: An unforgettable historical family saga

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‘Set in Granada, Spain, this magnificent historical family saga portrays one family’s struggle during the Civil War… Each chapter is told from a different woman’s viewpoint and reveals how family and love can ultimately conquer all – in even the toughest circumstances. It is beautifully written and offers an insight into a unique period of time. I urge you to read it.’ The ‘Set in Granada, Spain, this magnificent historical family saga portrays one family’s struggle during the Civil War… Each chapter is told from a different woman’s viewpoint and reveals how family and love can ultimately conquer all – in even the toughest circumstances. It is beautifully written and offers an insight into a unique period of time. I urge you to read it.’ The Sun An unforgettable journey into the heart of one family torn apart by war. Granada, 1920. Free-spirited Luisa and young poet Eduardo fall in love, cementing a bond that can never be broken. Behind the jasmine filled courtyard, perched amongst houses like clouds on a hilltop, stands a beautiful villa; Carmen de las Estrellas. Beneath its walls live Eduardo and Luisa with their thriving family, but war is looming, casting its shadow over the household. When Civil War finally breaks out, Luisa and Eduardo must fiercely protect those dear to them. Yet these are turbulent times, and as each of their children begin to make their way in the world, the solace of home cannot shield them from the horrors of war. The Poet’s Wife is an extraordinary piece of storytelling spanning over fifty years – a heart-wrenching novel of a family devastated by war but bound together by love, loss and hope, told through the eyes of three remarkable women. What Reviewers are saying about The Poet’s Wife 'A heart-wrenching novel of love, loss and hope.' Daily Express ‘The Poet’s Wife is the hugely impressive debut from Rebecca Stonehill. A sweeping historical family saga spanning three generations of women, this book was just amazing and I loved every minute of it… A cast of strong female characters, a multigenerational saga and a historical element are exactly what I look for in a good book and this delivered all the above and much more . Dare I say this was just as good as a Victoria Hislop novel and up there with The Separation as my book of the year!’ Shaz’s Book Blog 'A compelling, beautifully rendered tale... steeped in historical fact, with a wonderful storyline. A book definitely worth reading.' Historical Novel Review ‘Rebecca Stonehill’s debut, ‘The Poet’s Wife’ is a beautiful and powerful book. Unforgettable, an epic tale peopled with characters so vivid they jump off the pages and take residence in your heart. The writing is beautiful, heartfelt, the descriptions evocative, the sense of time and place exquisite. Nothing I say can do this book justice. Please read it. You will be glad you did.’ Renita D’Silva


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‘Set in Granada, Spain, this magnificent historical family saga portrays one family’s struggle during the Civil War… Each chapter is told from a different woman’s viewpoint and reveals how family and love can ultimately conquer all – in even the toughest circumstances. It is beautifully written and offers an insight into a unique period of time. I urge you to read it.’ The ‘Set in Granada, Spain, this magnificent historical family saga portrays one family’s struggle during the Civil War… Each chapter is told from a different woman’s viewpoint and reveals how family and love can ultimately conquer all – in even the toughest circumstances. It is beautifully written and offers an insight into a unique period of time. I urge you to read it.’ The Sun An unforgettable journey into the heart of one family torn apart by war. Granada, 1920. Free-spirited Luisa and young poet Eduardo fall in love, cementing a bond that can never be broken. Behind the jasmine filled courtyard, perched amongst houses like clouds on a hilltop, stands a beautiful villa; Carmen de las Estrellas. Beneath its walls live Eduardo and Luisa with their thriving family, but war is looming, casting its shadow over the household. When Civil War finally breaks out, Luisa and Eduardo must fiercely protect those dear to them. Yet these are turbulent times, and as each of their children begin to make their way in the world, the solace of home cannot shield them from the horrors of war. The Poet’s Wife is an extraordinary piece of storytelling spanning over fifty years – a heart-wrenching novel of a family devastated by war but bound together by love, loss and hope, told through the eyes of three remarkable women. What Reviewers are saying about The Poet’s Wife 'A heart-wrenching novel of love, loss and hope.' Daily Express ‘The Poet’s Wife is the hugely impressive debut from Rebecca Stonehill. A sweeping historical family saga spanning three generations of women, this book was just amazing and I loved every minute of it… A cast of strong female characters, a multigenerational saga and a historical element are exactly what I look for in a good book and this delivered all the above and much more . Dare I say this was just as good as a Victoria Hislop novel and up there with The Separation as my book of the year!’ Shaz’s Book Blog 'A compelling, beautifully rendered tale... steeped in historical fact, with a wonderful storyline. A book definitely worth reading.' Historical Novel Review ‘Rebecca Stonehill’s debut, ‘The Poet’s Wife’ is a beautiful and powerful book. Unforgettable, an epic tale peopled with characters so vivid they jump off the pages and take residence in your heart. The writing is beautiful, heartfelt, the descriptions evocative, the sense of time and place exquisite. Nothing I say can do this book justice. Please read it. You will be glad you did.’ Renita D’Silva

30 review for The Poet's Wife: An unforgettable historical family saga

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    The Poets Wife is a historical family saga that Sweeps with a capital S. Set in Granada, spanning 50 years from 1920, it is told from the points of view of three generations of women. Luisa is the Poets Wife, married to Eduardo, a lawyer by trade but poet by heart. She is the matriarch of the family, supporting not only her husband, but their children and extended family. Isabel is their first born, much loved daughter and the third woman is Paloma, daughter to Isabel. I don’t think I have ever The Poets Wife is a historical family saga that Sweeps with a capital S. Set in Granada, spanning 50 years from 1920, it is told from the points of view of three generations of women. Luisa is the Poets Wife, married to Eduardo, a lawyer by trade but poet by heart. She is the matriarch of the family, supporting not only her husband, but their children and extended family. Isabel is their first born, much loved daughter and the third woman is Paloma, daughter to Isabel. I don’t think I have ever read a novel set during the Spanish Civil War before, although there have been many characters in books that have fought in the conflict as part of their back story. This story shows the lead up to the war, the war itself and life afterwards during the Franco regime. It is rich in detail and I really felt as if I learned a lot about the history of the conflict, the politics, not to mention the brutalities, persecutions and sheer poverty that people lived through. I loved the characters of the three women and I really felt as if I got to know them as I listened to their innermost thoughts. It is the story of how they kept their family together and survived those years. It is a story with romance, danger and bravery, and I was completely hooked and swept away as it unfolded especially as the war starts and the family is doomed to be separated. I received a galley ARC to read and review which did have a number of typos in, but I am assuming these will have been corrected before the final release date.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is a stunningly good debut novel. Set on a grand scale it tells the story of one family living in Granada from the 1920s through the Spanish Civil war and their life under the fascist rule of General Franco until his death in 1975. The story is told through three the voices of three generations of women. The matriarch Luisa,the poet's wife, her daughter Isabel and grand-daughter Paloma. Luisa meets her future husband Eduardo outside a recital by his idol, the famous poet Federico Garcia Lorc This is a stunningly good debut novel. Set on a grand scale it tells the story of one family living in Granada from the 1920s through the Spanish Civil war and their life under the fascist rule of General Franco until his death in 1975. The story is told through three the voices of three generations of women. The matriarch Luisa,the poet's wife, her daughter Isabel and grand-daughter Paloma. Luisa meets her future husband Eduardo outside a recital by his idol, the famous poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Eduardo's wealthy family force him to study law but he has the heart and sensitivity of a poet and after he eventually has a book of poetry published insists on calling himself a poet. Luisa and Eduardo move into a beautiful big villa set in lovely grounds and embark on producing a large family at a time when Spain is still a republic and people are free to discuss politics and voice their opinions. With the dark shadows of fascism and civil war approaching their family expands even further when they take in a gypsy family they have befriended to save them from certain death. The story is lovingly told with Isabel's and later Paloma's voices relating their experiences of growing up during this time of fear, persecution and deprivation. Through the evocative writing we get a real sense of time and place and the emotions experienced by those living in fear of their lives during the civil war and afterwards. All three women are strong and independent and pass on that strength to endure to the next generation. Isabel's strength carries her through her experiences on the front line and Paloma's helps her to be one of the first women to become a university student and take part in student rallies. Highly recommended! With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book to read and review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tara Chevrestt

    There is nothing more confusing than Spain's civil war. Even the most interesting of novels chronicling it have left me feeling slightly bewildered. So I love how this author has managed to lay it out for us, simply, in a way in which the facts will always be in my mind. The story of Spain's hardships is told through three women. First, the poet's wife, Luisa. She shows us Spain before the war, when young girls spoke to potential suitors through gates and parents had a firm say in who their daug There is nothing more confusing than Spain's civil war. Even the most interesting of novels chronicling it have left me feeling slightly bewildered. So I love how this author has managed to lay it out for us, simply, in a way in which the facts will always be in my mind. The story of Spain's hardships is told through three women. First, the poet's wife, Luisa. She shows us Spain before the war, when young girls spoke to potential suitors through gates and parents had a firm say in who their daughters married. While her time is strict, it's not as strict as it later becomes. With a chaperone, she's allowed to go to poetry readings. As a married women, she's allowed to walk the countryside and visit the gitanos. There is music and dancing. People are allowed to have opinions...and meet with those with like minds. But then the war comes. Luisa continues her story and yet we also see the war through Isabel's--her daughter--eyes. Isabel is my favorite. She flourishes from a follower into a leader with a mind of her own. She's a nurse. She shuns traditions, yet stays in a strict, dictatorship country for her mother's sake. Later, despite the risks, she helps people to die, providing them comfort in their last moments. Through her eyes we see the Republic fall to Fascists and how people must adjust. Through both her and her mother's narratives, we experience the suffering of war: death, fear, secrets, helping others. And then Paloma, Isabel's daughter, makes an appearance. Here is where I have a quibble. Paloma shows us the post-war Spain, a time when husbands and wives cannot even hold hands in public. When men sit on one side and women on the other. When the church and a dictator rule all. When music and dancing is forbidden. But I didn't like her and she shows up so late in the story, I couldn't really know her anyway. I'd have preferred the story just stick to Isabel and Luisa. Full review, final thoughts, favorite quote: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2014/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Overmoyer

    Rebecca Stonehill's THE POET'S WIFE is a sweeping story of a family in the years leading up to, during, and after the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. The title could be seen as a little misleading considering that Luisa's husband, Eduardo, is more of a failed poet, making her more of a failed poet's wife. Given the scope of the story, I'd like to think that the title is meant to evoke the idea of dreamers in any society, in any time, in any place. Eduardo and Luisa are dreamers. They are parents Rebecca Stonehill's THE POET'S WIFE is a sweeping story of a family in the years leading up to, during, and after the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. The title could be seen as a little misleading considering that Luisa's husband, Eduardo, is more of a failed poet, making her more of a failed poet's wife. Given the scope of the story, I'd like to think that the title is meant to evoke the idea of dreamers in any society, in any time, in any place. Eduardo and Luisa are dreamers. They are parents and spouses first, but they are dreamers. He dreams of being a poet because poetry helped him escape a childhood overshadowed by overachieving brothers and could help him live a life overshadowed by war. Dreams are elusive, though, and he learns it in a slow and painful way. While Luisa is the main character in the story, it is her close friendship with a family of gypsy that makes her life all the more intriguing. Though she is active in political circles for a little while, she soon turns to breaking the rules in more subtle ways - namely befriending and protecting people from one of the most outcast and targeted groups even as her only family is in danger. Together they raise a group of children who are as different from each other as night is from day and yet each child is the best of what their parents are. Music, art, dreaming, thinking, love, passion, stubbornness, and steadiness... it's all there and it all flourishes in one of the most harsh environments possible - war. The true mark of a historical fiction novel is that it teaches the reader something, that it makes the reading want to seek out more information on a thing that really happened in a real time and a real place. Stonehill accomplishes that and more. I received a copy of THE POET'S WIFE through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. My review will be cross-posted there, on Goodreads, and on my blog.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a beautifully written book written about the Spanish Civil War- but spanning 50 years and telling the story of 3 generations. I learnt a lot about the time and the writing is so lovely that you can imagine yourself in the setting- in the beautiful family villa. Luisa is the Poet’s Wife from the title. She is married to Eduardo who is a lawyer- but tells everyone he is a poet at heart. The story follows Luisa, her eldest daughter Isabel and her granddaughter Paloma. The book carries you alo This is a beautifully written book written about the Spanish Civil War- but spanning 50 years and telling the story of 3 generations. I learnt a lot about the time and the writing is so lovely that you can imagine yourself in the setting- in the beautiful family villa. Luisa is the Poet’s Wife from the title. She is married to Eduardo who is a lawyer- but tells everyone he is a poet at heart. The story follows Luisa, her eldest daughter Isabel and her granddaughter Paloma. The book carries you along – immersed in the family’s journey through troubled years. I was sorry to finish this one!!!!!!!! Many thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is one of my favourite all-time books, so I grabbed at the chance to plunge into the background of the Spanish Civil War: to find out more about the lives of ordinary Spanish citizens, how they lived, loved and suffered. The Poet’s Wife delivered. I was thoroughly immersed in this epic story, and it has brought this period of history, this part of the world, to life through characters which seemed alive – though they are fictional. This is how historic For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is one of my favourite all-time books, so I grabbed at the chance to plunge into the background of the Spanish Civil War: to find out more about the lives of ordinary Spanish citizens, how they lived, loved and suffered. The Poet’s Wife delivered. I was thoroughly immersed in this epic story, and it has brought this period of history, this part of the world, to life through characters which seemed alive – though they are fictional. This is how historical fiction works! It takes you into the situation, so that you live through it with the characters. Rebecca Stonehill did an excellent job, and I shall be looking out for more of her work. An impressive debut! Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Roughley

    I knew very little about Spain’s civil war, the effects it had on the Spanish people and the atrocities they suffered at the hands of a dictatorship regime for such a long time after the war ended. The story of Luisa and Eduardo’s family throughout five decades is beautifully narrated from the point of view of Luisa, her daughter Isabel and her granddaughter Palamo. All three of these women were strong willed and determined to strive for a better future for their family and in hope for a free an I knew very little about Spain’s civil war, the effects it had on the Spanish people and the atrocities they suffered at the hands of a dictatorship regime for such a long time after the war ended. The story of Luisa and Eduardo’s family throughout five decades is beautifully narrated from the point of view of Luisa, her daughter Isabel and her granddaughter Palamo. All three of these women were strong willed and determined to strive for a better future for their family and in hope for a free and equal Spain. Despite a slow patch about a third of the way into the book I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. I found it both moving and inspiring.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Barton

    What a fantastic read! This story is set in Spain from the 1920’s tothe 1970’s. It follows 3 generations of a family, starting with Luisa, who falls in love with Edurato, a want to be poet. They build a beautiful family, while fighting for the republic as civil war breaks out. Then we move to teir daughter, Isabel, who decides to go and provide nursing services for the republic in Barcelona. She meets Henry, an English soldier fighting for the republic. They fall in love and move back to Granada What a fantastic read! This story is set in Spain from the 1920’s tothe 1970’s. It follows 3 generations of a family, starting with Luisa, who falls in love with Edurato, a want to be poet. They build a beautiful family, while fighting for the republic as civil war breaks out. Then we move to teir daughter, Isabel, who decides to go and provide nursing services for the republic in Barcelona. She meets Henry, an English soldier fighting for the republic. They fall in love and move back to Granada to raise their family. Then we move to their daughter, Paloma, who decides to study at the university of Barcelona.... one of the first women! There is s lot between the love stories, and a better understanding of the civil war that was fought for so many years. Really well written and a book I did not want to end!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kay Reynolds

    When I travel, I like to read novels from the area that I am traveling to. Currently living for 3 months in Murcia, Spain I found this book to contain historical accuracy, and the characters of this book seemed so real that it was easy to forget that you were reading a novel and not a biography. The author has brought the area to life through her writing. I am looking forward to a visit to Granada!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emma Crowley

    The Poet’s Wife is the hugely impressive debut from Rebecca Stonehill. A sweeping historical family saga spanning three generations of women, this book was just amazing and I loved every minute of it. Set in Granada, Spain from the 1920’s, through the civil war and right up until the death of General Franco, this story had me hooked right from the prologue and it’s not often a book can keep me enthralled in such a way. To be honest I think I would have bought this book without even reading the b The Poet’s Wife is the hugely impressive debut from Rebecca Stonehill. A sweeping historical family saga spanning three generations of women, this book was just amazing and I loved every minute of it. Set in Granada, Spain from the 1920’s, through the civil war and right up until the death of General Franco, this story had me hooked right from the prologue and it’s not often a book can keep me enthralled in such a way. To be honest I think I would have bought this book without even reading the blurb as the cover is just absolutely stunning, the colours are so eye-catching and make the female character look so intriguing and mysterious. There was just the right amount of historical detail to inform people who may not know much about the Spanish Civil War .Too often authors go overboard with detail and the reader can become bogged down in facts which can ruin the flow of the story. Not so in this case. We first meet Luisa as she encounters and falls in love with the poet Eduardo; soon they are married and start a family. Isabel is their first born and as the novel progress each chapter alternates between mother and daughter and later also Isobel’s daughter Paloma. Sometimes novels that have each chapter told from an alternative viewpoint can be very confusing, just as you are becoming familiar with one character the chapter ends. The Poet’s Wife was not a bit confusing instead the flow was perfect and I felt I was really getting to know each character and how the tumultuous years of Spanish upheaval affected each generation of women in this family. Luisa was a strong, determined woman and a wonderful character that set the tone for the entire book. She supports her family and always wants what’s best for them while hoping to live in a peaceful country. Eduardo was a lawyer by trade but was obsessed by poetry and if ever asked said he was a poet. For me Eduardo was the weakest of the characters, he didn’t seem much of a strong force in the family at a time when they needed it most. Yes, he was very selfless regarding the issue surrounding his brother Miguel but overall he just seemed constantly worried and not that likeable a character for me .Life is not always easy and soon the civil war erupts and everything the family had taken for granted changes forever. Isabel leaves Granada to work as a nurse even though she is only sixteen and soon falls in love with Henry Stevens a British soldier who has volunteered with the war effort. Now begins the seamless transition into the next phase of the novel, where we learn how the civil war has a lasting effect on future generations of Spanish families most notably Isabel’s daughter Paloma. Raised in a Republican family Isabel realises she has come from a life of privilege while others have had a much more difficult upbringing .Witnessing the horrors of war has a profound effect on her and how she views her life. Tragedy befalls her family and having become so attached to this family I was heartbroken to see them go through such tough times. But that is the reality of war and the author was not afraid to write about the harsh blows most Spanish families had to endure. Rebecca Stonehill has clearly done plenty of in-depth research for this book and her love of Spain just leapt from the page. The descriptions are fantastic and you really got a feeling you were there living and breathing alongside the family. The writing throughout the book was just beautiful and breath-taking evoking so many emotions joy, sadness, love and heartache to name but a few. One line that struck me was ‘I see my past, my present and future all coming together and winding their strands of time around his’. I have to admit this brought a tear to my eye as I could just feel the love Isabel had for Henry. The Poets Wife is a powerful book full of emotion and characters you really care for. I became totally immersed in the story and didn’t want it to end. A cast of strong female characters, a multigenerational saga and a historical element are exactly what I look for in a good book and this delivered all the above and much more . Dare I say this was just as good as a Victoria Hislop novel and up there with The Separation as my book of the year!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella

    I loved following three different generations of powerful women as they experience loss, love, and the ruthlessness of Franco’s dictatorship. I found myself close to tears finishing the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Peterson

    *Originally posted on my blog Skeleton Key Reviews http://skeletonkeyreviews.com/?p=579* The Poet’s Wife covers three generations of women in a family through the rule of Franco in Spain. Through the hunger, execution and torture of friends and family, and the fear of staunch Franco supporters. Also through the births, making friends, and individual triumphs. It starts out with the courting of Luisa and Eduardo in the early nineteen hundreds and the birth of their first child daughter, Isabel. Onc *Originally posted on my blog Skeleton Key Reviews http://skeletonkeyreviews.com/?p=579* The Poet’s Wife covers three generations of women in a family through the rule of Franco in Spain. Through the hunger, execution and torture of friends and family, and the fear of staunch Franco supporters. Also through the births, making friends, and individual triumphs. It starts out with the courting of Luisa and Eduardo in the early nineteen hundreds and the birth of their first child daughter, Isabel. Once Isabel is born Luisa takes her on hikes and ends up becoming friends with a family of gypsies. Gypsies are treated as inferiors in their society and Luisa has to keep her friendship with them secret. Eduardo is a lawyer with the heart of a poet. After having his first and only book of poetry printed he henceforth refers to himself a poet. He loves his wife and children fiercely, a devoted husband and father. Luisa is outgoing and pretty much wears the pants in the family. Isabel is the first born and takes after her mother and father. She has the best of both. She can take charge, but she does so in the quiet way of her father. When she reaches her sixteenth birthday she leaves with her best friend to become a nurse in the Republican army field hospitals. There she meets Henry. He is a recuperating soldier from England. In time they fall in love. They part when the army is disbanded and after two years apart Henry makes his way back to her. They then start a family and their first born is her daughter, Paloma. Paloma is growing up when Franco’s dictatorship is slowly coming to an end. She grows up in the 60’s and 70’s. She goes to University in Barcelona and when she graduates she travels to Morocco. She has never been in love before and when she is in Morocco she meets Alberto. The first Spaniard she has come across in her travels in Morocco. They get to know one another and she finds out that he grew up in a village not far from where she grew up. The travel some together and part ways with the promise that when Alberto is finished with his travel he will find her at her home. I really liked this. I fell in love a little with Eduardo. He was different from all of the men in his family and time. Where they were all macho, Eduardo wasn’t afraid to cry with happiness or sadness when the time called for it. He was a gentle soul and very much in love with his family. He also held to his beliefs, even when those beliefs are what gets him killed in the end. I think Rebecca Stonehill spins an exceptional story to be able to make you see the beauty in these women’s trials and tragedies. Definitely something that needs to be savored like one of the fine wines of that country.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura LeAnn

    Well-written, through the point of view of three generations of women in the same family, describing the events leading up to, including, and following the Spanish Civil War. This novel covers a period of almost 80 years, beginning in 1920 and ending in 1979. Luisa, the first generation, is the daughter of a privileged and wealthy family in Granada. She is The Poet's Wife, married to Eduardo, a lawyer by vocation, but who aspires to be a poet as his idol Garcia Lorca, one of Spain's most beloved Well-written, through the point of view of three generations of women in the same family, describing the events leading up to, including, and following the Spanish Civil War. This novel covers a period of almost 80 years, beginning in 1920 and ending in 1979. Luisa, the first generation, is the daughter of a privileged and wealthy family in Granada. She is The Poet's Wife, married to Eduardo, a lawyer by vocation, but who aspires to be a poet as his idol Garcia Lorca, one of Spain's most beloved poets, is. Eduardo does succeed in publishing a volume of poetry during his life. Their first-born child, a daughter, Isabel, is the second generation. She works as a nurse in northern Spain during the Spanish Civil War and meets a young soldier from England, Henry. Their daughter, Paloma, is the third generation. Stonehill's writing is non-assuming and you are drawn in to the story, especially as a female reader, through the voices of these strong Spanish women. She has done a superb job of interweaving the history of the Spanish Civil War within the stories of these women and their family members. While I lack in more than a very basic understanding of the Spanish Civil War, I was still able to read this novel and understand the events taking place through the eyes of these women. It is important for American readers to understand that the usage of the term "Republican" in this novel means something EXTREMELY different than the American political usage of Republican. Keeping this in mind will help the American readers to better understand the novel and the political issues at hand leading up to and during the Spanish Civil War. I would definitely recommend this novel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    This is a beautiful and powerful book. Unforgettable, an epic tale peopled with characters so vivid they jump off the pages and take residence in your heart. The writing is beautiful, heartfelt, the descriptions evocative, the sense of time and place exquisite. The upheavals of a family torn asunder by the ravages of war are set against the backdrop of a country in turmoil. A vast canvas, memorable characters, and love against all odds, love that survives political insurgence and unspeakable vio This is a beautiful and powerful book. Unforgettable, an epic tale peopled with characters so vivid they jump off the pages and take residence in your heart. The writing is beautiful, heartfelt, the descriptions evocative, the sense of time and place exquisite. The upheavals of a family torn asunder by the ravages of war are set against the backdrop of a country in turmoil. A vast canvas, memorable characters, and love against all odds, love that survives political insurgence and unspeakable violence committed in the guise of war. The travails of a country that is folding within itself, destroyed by various warring factions, are delicately handled. Rebecca Stonehill gives us the colour of a woman’s eyes as she mourns the disintegration of her country, she opens the characters’ hearts, their innermost feelings, their confusion in the face of political tumult out to us. A very wise and moving book. Honest, profound and dare I say, life changing. It made me appreciate the times we live in today, the freedom we take for granted. It made me look up and read more about the Spanish Civil war as it is so sensitively portrayed. For all that this book is set against a country that is struggling to find its feet, at its heart it is a love story, the story of a family trying to do their best and survive, a story we can all identify with, a story of three wonderful, strong women who form the backbone of an amazing family, a story you will be moved by. Nothing I say can do this book justice. Please read it. You will be glad you did.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mystica

    Family sagas with a strong historical background are one of my favourite genres. This one ticked all the boxes. Another huge favourite is strong women and this story throws up strong women in every generation the book covered. The autocratic and dictatorial type of rule under Franco in Spain was a period of history unknown to me, so I found this very informative. Luisa and Eduardo fall in love. He is a poet and she is a free spirited young girl, ahead of her time and knows her mind. They marry an Family sagas with a strong historical background are one of my favourite genres. This one ticked all the boxes. Another huge favourite is strong women and this story throws up strong women in every generation the book covered. The autocratic and dictatorial type of rule under Franco in Spain was a period of history unknown to me, so I found this very informative. Luisa and Eduardo fall in love. He is a poet and she is a free spirited young girl, ahead of her time and knows her mind. They marry and have a beautiful family. In the 1920s Spain is torn apart by civil war.and one has to be very careful even of one's neighbours, friends and relatives because the cost of a loose word here or there could be the cost of a life. The light hearted family background for the children ends and the family along with a family of gypsies that Luisa has befriended start the 50 year journey of their lives, just trying to survive. As each child strives for independence at a time when independence for women is particularly forbidden Isabel and following her the other children leave the nest and Luisa and Eduardo try to protect the ones left behind. The story of Isabel and then Isabel and Henry's daughter Paloma follow. Each episode is very beautifully told. It is an emotional and tense time for families in Spain, and for close knit families trying to keep the bonds close it is particularly difficult. As usual in times of Civil War the stories of survival both physically and mentally are the stories that are wonderful to read about and this family saga is no exception.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Stonehill does a fabulous job with educating the reader on the Spanish Civil War as the build up, the actual conflict and the aftermath is painfully depicted. Brilliantly detailed including the history, notable figureheads, political strife, brutalities, unimaginable poverty suffered by those surviving the discord. The intimacy Stonehill created with the Luisa, Isabel and Paloma is compelling. Their fierceness to keep the family unit intact, strength to survive matched with hardships well sketche Stonehill does a fabulous job with educating the reader on the Spanish Civil War as the build up, the actual conflict and the aftermath is painfully depicted. Brilliantly detailed including the history, notable figureheads, political strife, brutalities, unimaginable poverty suffered by those surviving the discord. The intimacy Stonehill created with the Luisa, Isabel and Paloma is compelling. Their fierceness to keep the family unit intact, strength to survive matched with hardships well sketched. The narrative never loses momentum as war approaches and the family faces imminent separation their fears and concern obvious. The anguish and conflict touches the peruser, you feel as if you’re by this family’s side as the story unfolds. A sweeping story of one family’s progression along with that of their country’s. The three generational perspectives gives the reader insight into the sentiment and times people faced. I will say I connected with Luisa and Isabel more than Paloma. I felt Paloma’s presence wasn’t as strong, she felt more like an afterthought, a token insertion, not nearly as powerful and affecting as Luisa and Isabel. Paloma’s era was more liberal, less restrictive as that of her predecessors, however, all three women made an impact enduring challenging times. Stonehill definitely impressed this reader, very well done enterprising success.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carolynj

    As a first novel it was elegant. Not a demanding read, but nevertheless an addictive one. I thought the characters were all well drawn and each one, including all the children, became lodged in the mind of this reader for all their different personalities. Although some aspects of the story seemed rather too good to be real, one never really felt credultiy to be over stretched. The author took the reader from the warm and fuzzy to the shocked horrified with ease. Even elicited the odd tear from As a first novel it was elegant. Not a demanding read, but nevertheless an addictive one. I thought the characters were all well drawn and each one, including all the children, became lodged in the mind of this reader for all their different personalities. Although some aspects of the story seemed rather too good to be real, one never really felt credultiy to be over stretched. The author took the reader from the warm and fuzzy to the shocked horrified with ease. Even elicited the odd tear from this old cynic, mainly because she identifies with the political beliefs of the protagonists, and the Spanish Civil War is a particularly emotive subject. The way Stonehill presented the 1950s and 60s under Franco was both interesting and instructive-it told me things about that period of which I was unaware. The settings were were described and shown rather than told- always a good thing. So all in all I found it a really good read and will certainly read another by this author as soon as one is available. On a technical point- I read the Kindle edition, and I thing there may have been a page or so missing at the point where Isabel and Sarah decide to volunteer as nurses. Picked it up though without too much of a hiccup.

  18. 4 out of 5

    I

    Oooh I loved this book! So beautifully written. Sometimes beautifully written means long long sentences that distract me from the actual story. But not with this book. It's so easy to read and to get lost in the story. Written from the viewpoint of three different characters I got attached to all three of them. But the one that stands out the most is Aurelia. You don't get to read what exactly she is thinking and feeling but that fits the character perfectly. You feel like you know what is going Oooh I loved this book! So beautifully written. Sometimes beautifully written means long long sentences that distract me from the actual story. But not with this book. It's so easy to read and to get lost in the story. Written from the viewpoint of three different characters I got attached to all three of them. But the one that stands out the most is Aurelia. You don't get to read what exactly she is thinking and feeling but that fits the character perfectly. You feel like you know what is going on with her and at the same time she is a mystery. And that is exactly the kind of person I imagine she would be. All the characters in this book have depth and I could just imagine them in real life. The only one I didn't quite understand is Eduardo. Since his fate is so important to the story I kind of missed knowing more about him. Reading about the history of Spain during this period was very interesting. I was surprised I hardly knew anything about the not-that-long-ago history of a country I have visited a couple of times.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mirella

    The Poet’s Wife is an extraordinary novel about a family struggling to go on with their daily lives during the Spanish Civil War. The tale unfolds through the lush narrative of three different women from the same family. First, there is Luisa, the poet’s wife, the matriarch of the family who befriends a group of gypsies. Her daughter, Isabel, young, independent, becomes a nurse on the front lines. It is there she discovers her talent for sitting with the dying, and helping them pass on with dign The Poet’s Wife is an extraordinary novel about a family struggling to go on with their daily lives during the Spanish Civil War. The tale unfolds through the lush narrative of three different women from the same family. First, there is Luisa, the poet’s wife, the matriarch of the family who befriends a group of gypsies. Her daughter, Isabel, young, independent, becomes a nurse on the front lines. It is there she discovers her talent for sitting with the dying, and helping them pass on with dignity and kindness. Lastly, there is Paloma who makes an appearance after the war has ended. This is a compelling, beautifully rendered tale of the complexities of the Spanish civil war as told through the point of view of the civilians who suffered through it. The plight of the gypsies and the many cruelties leveled against them was compassionately brought forward. All in all, this was an excellent novel, a true learning experience steeped in historical fact, yet with a wonderful storyline. A book definitely worth reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deborah O'Regan

    I enjoy this book very much. Good insight to the Spanish Civil war and what it was like living under Franco. Told from 3 generations of women and interesting to see how each generation coped.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adele

    This was a very moving portrayal of a family’s struggles and survival during the Spanish revolution. The story was told from the eyes of the female members of the family panning three generations. The tragedies they felt and saw. The hardship of surviving with little or no food. The fear of leaving their own home. The casualties of the civil war. Amongst all these terrible days, months and years love had intertwined into their lives and it was a wonderful blessing. From the author’s words I felt This was a very moving portrayal of a family’s struggles and survival during the Spanish revolution. The story was told from the eyes of the female members of the family panning three generations. The tragedies they felt and saw. The hardship of surviving with little or no food. The fear of leaving their own home. The casualties of the civil war. Amongst all these terrible days, months and years love had intertwined into their lives and it was a wonderful blessing. From the author’s words I felt the heartbreak of these atrocities, the fear surrounding them but I also felt the warmth from the love that had blossomed. A very well written historical family saga I can highly recommend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    Historical fiction at its finest. Through the stories of three generations of strong, independent women of the Ramirez family, Stonehill portrays the horrors and hopes of the years between 1920 and 1979 in Spain. Louisa, Isabel, and Paloma depict the slow but sure change in the lives of the Spanish women during and after Franco's dictatorship. There are many other wonderful characters whose lives are interwoven with this family's dramatic history. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one Historical fiction at its finest. Through the stories of three generations of strong, independent women of the Ramirez family, Stonehill portrays the horrors and hopes of the years between 1920 and 1979 in Spain. Louisa, Isabel, and Paloma depict the slow but sure change in the lives of the Spanish women during and after Franco's dictatorship. There are many other wonderful characters whose lives are interwoven with this family's dramatic history. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one day. You'll especially love it if you've been to Spain. I highly recommend The Poet's Wife.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I enjoyed reading this book tremendously. I learned a lot about what Spain was like during General Franco's reign. The realistic writing pulled me into the lives of the very interesting characters, into their everyday lives, and anytime I needed to put the book down I regretted the interruption. I look forward to Rebecca Stonehill's next book, and especially so for it will be set in my country. I enjoyed reading this book tremendously. I learned a lot about what Spain was like during General Franco's reign. The realistic writing pulled me into the lives of the very interesting characters, into their everyday lives, and anytime I needed to put the book down I regretted the interruption. I look forward to Rebecca Stonehill's next book, and especially so for it will be set in my country.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Rix

    I didn’t know a huge amount about the Spanish Civil War but after reading ‘The Poet’s Wife’, I feel I have been given a real insight into this tragic and divisive time in Spain’s history. Rebecca Stonehill is a talented writer who takes the reader on a journey through the eyes of one family caught up in this turbulent period. Her characterisation is wonderful and descriptions of Granada and Barcelona very atmospheric. A lovely novel – instructive, interesting and involving.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emmaa22

    Recommended by a friend of the author and really enjoyed it. Set in Granada during the civil war, I loved the characters and the depiction both of the turbulent history and of the complex storyline. Really good tale - reminded me of The Return and Guernica on similar lines, but beautifully put together.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Based in Granada before and during the civil war. This is a tale about the beautiful bond between Eduard and Luisa. They raise their children in a loving and liberal environment. Their liberal views become dangerous as the war looms and has a different impact on them all. The characters really come alive and make you feel with them, it is a delightful book

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Laverdure

    Intriguing! The Poet's wife was a delight to read! This is the first book that I read by Rebecca Stonehill. This novel was well written, with characters nicely blended into this story set during the Spanish Civil war. I liked Eduardo, Louisa and their family. Intriguing! The Poet's wife was a delight to read! This is the first book that I read by Rebecca Stonehill. This novel was well written, with characters nicely blended into this story set during the Spanish Civil war. I liked Eduardo, Louisa and their family.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    A beautifully written book, set during the time leading up to the Spanish Civil War, during it and living after it. Three generations of positive females are the centre stone of the story and their lives, fears and dreams. Well worth a read 5 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    brilliant book about a family through the Spanish civil war. a brilliant saga which is really well written

  30. 5 out of 5

    nikkia neil

    I received a copy on my kindle from netgalley. I enjoyed this book. It will blow your mind the situation in Spain for so long. Its a very good different book than usually set in Spain.

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