16 May 2019

A Discovering Diamonds review of The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh

The Red Gene

"This is an evocative story of survival during the Franco period of Spain’s turbulent history. It is a story of the aftermath of war, and how ordinary people coped with that aftermath."



Family drama/romance
1900s / Spanish Civil War
Spain

 “When Rose, a young English nurse with humanitarian ideals, decides to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, she is little prepared for the experiences that await her. Working on one front after another, witness to all the horrors of war, she falls in love with a Republican fighter, Miguel. In 1939 as defeat becomes inevitable, Rose is faced with a decision that will change her life and leave her with lasting scars. Interspersed with Rose's story is that of Consuelo, a girl growing up in a staunchly Catholic family on the other side of the ideological divide. Never quite belonging, treated unkindly, she discovers at a young age that she was adopted but her attempts to learn more about her origins are largely thwarted. It falls to the third generation, to Consuelo's daughter Marisol, born in the year of Franco's death and growing up in a rapidly changing Spain, to investigate the dark secrets of her family and find the answers that have until now eluded her mother.”

Rose gets caught up in the horror and the violence of the Spanish Civil War, with the narrative featuring several generations of two families, English and Spanish, with their lives mingling together through circumstance and Rose herself.

This is an evocative story of survival during the Franco period of Spain’s turbulent history. It is a story of the aftermath of war, and how ordinary people coped with that aftermath. We meet romance, tragedy, love and fear, loyalty and betrayal. Ms Lamplugh’s writing is as evocative as the cast of characters that are set against this broad, even epic, sweep of time and place. But more than that, this is a tale of motherhood and family, action, yes, adventure, yes but overall the importance of family.


© Mary Chapple


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