Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda, a young writer, finally returns to her beloved Spain after years away in England. Her first day back in Cádiz, Luz falls from her horse and suffers a nasty head injury. She is found by Leandro, a young man from a local gypsy family, who cares for her and brings her home. In 1970s Cádiz a relationship with a gypsy is out of the question, but nonetheless Luz is instantly attracted to this mysterious man she knows nothing about.
When Luz and Leandro keep running into each other, on the shores of Cádiz and by the colourful gypsy camps, Luz knows she is falling for him. Yet knowing that their relationship is forbidden by her family, Luz buries herself in her work, a biography of a famous Spanish artist, in an attempt to forget Leandro. But then she meets her employer, Andrés de Calderón, the man who commissioned the book she is working on.
Andrés courts Luz in style, taking her to the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the glittering masquerade balls of Spanish society. Shockingly confronted by André’s secret fiancée, and hearing whispered rumours of a family feud between Leandro’s family and her own, Luz finds herself torn between the two men.
Can Luz unravel the mysterious secrets surrounding the two men, and find love, or will deception ruin them all?
Received this book from netgally and the publisher in exchange for an honest review this has in no way affected my opinion
This is a follow up to Hannah Fielding’s Spanish romance, ‘Indiscretion’—and what a sequel!
Raised to be a weapon of vengeance, the compelling gypsy Leandro is given a terrible task by his bitter, dying mother Marujita. She demands that he invoke the gypsy code of revenge against Salvador and Alexandra, whom Marujita hates for Salvador rejecting her. (It’s good to see these two charismatic leads from ‘Indiscretion’ and a delight to see them interacting with the heroine of this novel, their daughter Luz.)
And the proposed engine of revenge? The seduction and abandonment of Luz, Salvador and Alexandra’s beloved daughter. If Leandro does not, Marujita threatens to curse him. Worse, when Leandro and Luz encounter each other by accident, both are profoundly drawn to each other. How can they escape the curse? When the ancient gypsy Paquita warns Luz through a prophecy, should Luz believe her? What should she do? And what is the connection between the gypsy Leandro and the handsome, privileged, Andres? Why do the two men look so similar, when they are from such different backgrounds? What forces unites these two men? Luz wonders if they are even twins separated at birth. And how can she love and desire them both?—because she does.
Luz (her name, appropriately enough, means light) is a modern young woman, a skilled writer and biographer, but can she see thorough the illusions and masks to the reality? At times she is attracted to Andres but is often put off by his arrogance and womanizing. Leandro intrigues her each time she encounters him, but can they be together, or will tradition and their families force them apart? Will the gypsy desire of vengeance win?
These passionate dilemmas are vividly explored by Hannah Fielding. Her characters are very human and fallible, with real emotions and difficult choices. Luz is engaging and volatile, loyal and full-hearted and very torn by her feelings. Hannah Fielding writes of love, sexual tension and longing with an amazing delicacy and lushness, almost luxury.
Suffused with the legends and lore of the gypsies and the beliefs of Spain, there is so much in this novel. Horse fairs, sensual dreams, bull running, bull fighters, moonlight swims, the heat and flowers and colours and costumes of the country. Above all there is romantic danger, a tangle of deadly flirtations where all and nothing is said, a glittering world of parties, where many wear masks. There is also the mystery of the beautiful young muse of the painter Eduardo and threading through the idea of the Gemini, twin males, twin aspects, differing aspects.
In the end, love overcomes revenge and curses and all is explained in a powerful, almost gothic resolution. Yet can Luz trust her lover after such revelations? Can her family and his grow beyond their pasts? All is finally resolved in a thrilling and heroic climax.
A superb read.