Under the Spanish Stars by Alli Sinclair – enjoyable, escapist romance with plenty of depth and intrigue.
Book number seven in the 26-books-in 52-weeks challenge has to be a book written by a woman. So, as with the book six specification of a book by a male author, it’s a wide field to choose from.
My fiction choices come mainly from the contemporary and crime genres and both male and female authors are on my favourites list. But choosing just one – of either gender – has proved difficult.
So I decided that for this category (male and female) I’d choose an author who is new to me and in a genre I wouldn’t normally read.
Hence I’m going for the romantic novel Under the Spanish Stars by Alli Sinclair as my Book Seven.
I do read romantic fiction but I usually prefer the protagonists to be a bit older than they are in this book. I like a heroine and hero who have lived a little. So Under the Spanish Stars was a bit out of my comfort zone with its twenty-something main characters and I suspected I might get a bit bored.
Not a bit of it!
Yes, it’s a boy meets girl tale, yes it’s highly romantic – but in the best way. The characters have depth. They have complex and interesting back stories. And there’s plenty of intrigue.
Charlotte is Australian but the need to solve a mystery in her grandmother’s past takes her to Spain where she meets Mateo.
Here’s what the back cover blurb says:
Amid the vivid beauty of Granada, a woman entrusted with unraveling a family secret will discover the truth about her heritage—and the alluring promise of love… When her beloved grandmother falls ill, Charlotte Kavanagh will do whatever she asks of her—even if it means traveling to a country that broke her abuela’s heart. Can an unsigned painting of a flamenco dancer unlock the secrets of her grandmother’s youth in Spain? To find the answers she needs, Charlotte must convince the charismatic and gifted musician, Mateo Vives to introduce her to a secluded gypsy clan. The enigmatic Mateo speaks the true language of flamenco, a culture Charlotte must learn to appreciate if she wants to understand her grandmother’s past—and the flamenco legend that has moved souls to beauty, and bodies to the heights of passion. As Mateo leads her into the captivating world of the music and the dance, Charlotte embraces her own long-denied creative gift and the possibility of a future rich with joy…
As the story goes back in time to when Charlotte’s grandmother, Katerina was young and in love with flamenco guitarist, Raul, the reader becomes immersed not just in the Franco era, but also in the spirit of flamenco and the Spanish gitano culture. Alli Sinclair has done her research but it’s deftly presented and woven into the story and she beings the beauty, architecture and culture associated with the Alhambra and Granada fully to life.
The novel is beautifully set – and set up. It’s laced with art, culture and history. It’s also beautifully told. Altogether a satisfying, romantic read.