Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley.

Spain, 1939.
Following the wishes of her parents to keep her safe during the war, a young girl, Julia, enters a convent in Barcelona. Looking for a way to maintain her links to the outside world, she volunteers to help in a maternity clinic. But worrying adoption practices in the clinic force Sister Julia to decide how far she will go to help those placed in her care.

England, 2011.
Six months after her parents' shocking death, 34-year-old journalist and jazz enthusiast Ruby Rae has finally found the strength to pack away their possessions and sell the family home. But as she does so, she unearths a devastating secret her parents, Vivien and Tom, had kept from her all her life.


I enjoy a book with a good secret. This is a book of two halves one in Spain in 1939 and the other England 2011, both stories are filled with secrets and the damage that occurs when like all secrets these ones are discovered.
I enjoyed the story set in Spain best, my heart broke for the young Julia, forced to enter a convent against her wishes but to save her life. The devastating effect that civil war has on the people trying to survive is all too clear in this story, it splits Julia's close knit family apart forever.
Julie as a young nun was witness to the terrible illegal adoptions which took place in maternity clinics all over Spain. As a young girl she was powerless against the doctor who was highly thought of but she took care of the heartbroken mothers with kindness and did the job she had to do but also devised a plane that hopefully one day would re-unite the adopted children with their real mothers. This part of the book was heart rending especially as these practices really did take place.
We meet Julia again in 2011. Is she still a nun? Who can help her with the plan she had to re-unite the mothers with the children they are still grieving for?

In England in 2011 Ruby is coming to grips with a family tragedy and is also having to deal with a secret that has been kept from her since her birth. She meets Andreas,an artist who has moved to Dorset from Fuerteventura, why does he never speak of his family,and why does he never want to return to his homeland? I enjoyed Ruby's story although I kind of knew where it was going which is why I preferred Julia's story more.
As in most stories set in two different places we eventually find the connection and meet Julia again.
I read this book on holiday and really enjoyed it. Rosanna Ley is a good storyteller and I particularly enjoyed the historical elements in her book. Her description of Barcelona's back streets and the fear in the people during the civil war drew me into the story and made me not want to leave.
Four stars for Bay of Secrets.
Amazon uk paperback and kindle
Amazon .com kindle

This is the first book I have read by Rosanna Ley and I'm going to download the other one she has written,
The Villa
 When Tess Angel receives a solicitor's letter inviting her to claim her inheritance - the Villa Sirena, perched on a clifftop in Sicily - she is stunned. Her only link to the island is through her mother, Flavia, who left Sicily during World War II and cut all contact with her family.
Initially resistant to Tess going back to her roots, Flavia realises the secrets from her past are about to be revealed and decides to try to explain her actions. Meanwhile, Tess' teenage daughter Ginny is stressed by college, by her blooming sexuality and filled with questions that she longs to ask her father, if only she knew where he was.
Sounds good!

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