So far this year I have been making the effort to squeeze in some historical fiction. So when I got the email about The Red Gene I jumped at the chance of joining the #blogtour. Historical fiction is a genre I love, but it is also a genre that I don’t always read – something I am working on changing.
Too many books, never enough time!
Some books stay with me for quite some time and others disappear from my memory almost immediately after my eyes have left the last page.
The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh is memorable.
In particular, Rose’s story will undoubtedly stay with me.
I am sure that The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh will be a book I recommend for anyone interested in a wartime historical novel. It is a story set during major wars that changed the world, but it was very much a character driven story. Before picking up The Red Gene I knew very little about the Spanish civil war, which makes for a rather brutal opening backdrop to the novel. I could tell when reading it that the author did her research.
As a parent, there was an instance in story that made me put down the book and take a moment to blink back the tears and clear my eyes before I could read on. The heartache was well written. I felt the characters pain.
Rose was a very brave character and suffered some unimaginable losses. Heartbreaking. Rose was a fighter, she was a survivor, she was resilient, and she really was a great character. One of my favourites that I’ve read this year.
But Rose’s story was only half the novel, we also follow the life of Consuelo as she grows up during a very difficult time in Spanish history, into a catholic family that often never made her feel quite welcome. It doesn’t take long to figure out who Consuelo is and well SPOILER. If you would like to know I very much suggest picking up The Red Gene to read. I doubt you will be disappointed.
The pacing was good, the writing was good – I enjoyed the whole book, even if it did bring up some sad emotions for me. I will definitely be picking up more by Barbara Lamplugh in the future.
It was an interesting, absorbing and emotional read. The book surprised me, I didn’t expect to like it quite as much as I did.
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.
Barbara Lamplugh was born and grew up in London. An experienced traveller, she described her journeys in ‘Kathmandu by Truck’ and ‘Trans-Siberia by Rail’ published by Roger Lascelles. In 1999, spurred by the challenge of living in a different culture, she headed for Granada in Spain, where she still lives, inspired by views of hills and the Alhambra from her sunny terrace. A regular features writer for the magazine ‘Living Spain’, she has also written for ‘The Guardian’, ‘The Times’ and published her first novel Secrets of the Pomegranate in 2015.