Pimlico Library Reading Group met this week to discuss The Return, by Victoria Hislop.
The romantic cover showing the silhouette of a couple dancing in a Mediterranean-looking square did not give away the underlying history that weaves the story together: the Spanish Civil War that divided families and devastated the country from 1936-1939.
Among our group there was general consent that the descriptions of the shattered relationships and destroyed land were very vivid and that the book was a page turner, even if a few pages too many.
Our discussion kept going back to the Spanish Civil War. We could understand how difficult it must be to come to terms after such vicious fighting took place relatively recently, and wondered how the Spanish Civil War was taught in Spanish schools. One young member from Spain could confirm that she did not study the Spanish Civil War in school, but was aware that it had affected her grandparents’ generation. Another member had a personal connection to the poet Charles Donnelly, the Irish poet who died fighting in the Civil War, and was therefore well informed about it.
Some members had read The Island by the same author and thought it was also well written. We had told the author that we were going to be discussing her book, and received a message from her thanking us for reading it, which was great!
Pimlico Reading Group’s next meeting is on 26 June, 6.00 – 7.00pm. The book we’ll be discussing is Gentlemen and Players, by Joanne Harris – reserve your copy now and come and join us!