Miren Ansotegui might have the pick of Guernica's young men, but new arrival Miguel Navarro is the one who catches her eye, delighting their respective families even as they endure the hardships of the Spanish Civil War. But history is not on Guernica's side and when the Luftwaffe enter the fray on April 26th 1937, the unimaginable happens.
This vividly drawn story of the Basque people and the infamous tragedy they faced is an engrossing saga of love and family, woven through with real-life characters and events of the time.
We loved the historical context but felt some of the characters were unrealistic.
Group really liked the book. Good history lesson for some.
Everyone in our group found this a difficult story to begin with - the unfamiliar names of many characters and places was hard work. However, it was a rich and rewarding story. We all enjoyed the historical and educational aspects.
Slow start - only reason we wouldn't give it five stars. But the slow start is deliberate so persist and you slowly get drawn into the tragedy that was Guernica and you become invested in the great characters. Lots of individual stories of the characters all brought together. If you like The Book Thief, you'll like this.
Very highly rated by the group. 5 stars.
"Characters were one dimensional". "Nice romance". "History was accurate but left a lot of political details out".
This was an interesting and relatively gripping first novel. Learning about the Basque people and the inevitable and terrible bombing of Guernica was excellent. Actual people like Picasso and Aguirre were interwoven into the story and were well done. However the story fell away in the final section, tying up numerous stories and people that were hard to reconcile with the main story.
We would have liked a family tree to refer to! We all enjoyed the book.
All members at the meeting enjoyed the book - the topical subject was appreciated.
We thought this book did a great job of combining a narrative of well-researched historical facts with the impact of the events on the fictional families and characters whose story was the theme of the book. We all knew of Guernica, but not all the details of the raid and we had an interesting discussion about the Basque culture, the separatist movement and recent political events in Spain. Some of the group also did further online research about Picasso's painting.