As far as lightweight summer reading goes, Victoria Hislop is one of my absolute favourites. She writes in a beautiful, natural way, her stories have a nice flow, and the books are so easy to read. In The Return, the reader is transported to Granada, in Spain, during the Spanish Civil War.
Our modern day protagonist Sonia, trapped in a marriage with a man she doesn’t even recognise anymore is hoping to let her hair down on a trip to Spain with her childhood friend. But a chance meeting with a stranger in a cafe will lead her into the past. Here she will discover the incredible story of the Ramirez family as they live in a war torn Spain, and the remarkable journeys they go on.
Of all the places I have been to in Spain, Granada has always tugged at my heart. The Moorish quarters, the winding streets of the Albycin, the impenetrable majesty of the Alhambra – it is a city with magic. It also has an incredible history as one of the foremost cities of Andalusia and of great importance in medieval times. Hislop manages to lift these scenes of the pages through the stories of the past.
The reader is completely drawn into the tale of the Ramirez children and the story of this family, as it is brought to the brink of extinction by the Civil War. The backdrop is terrific and really shows that democracies that we take for granted in the modern day were one day, bitterly fought for and snatched from the greedy mouths of dictators.
This is a wonderful book and I very much recommend as a summer read if you are looking for one this year.