Contemporary Women’s fiction/ Reading Group fiction
Release Date: 23/4/2015
Passionate, free-spirited Deborah has finally found peace and a fulfilling relationship in her adopted city of Granada – but when she is seriously injured in the Madrid train bombings of 2004, it is her sister Alice who is forced to face the consequences of a deception they have maintained for ten years. At Deborah’s home in Granada, Alice waits, ever more fearful. Will her sister live or die? And how long should she stay when each day brings the risk of what she most dreads, a confrontation with Deborah’s Moroccan ex-lover, Hassan? At stake is all she holds dear… ‘
Secrets of the Pomegranate deals with topical themes such as inter-cultural relationships and the moral dilemmas around truth and lies – whether personal or political. It explores, with compassion, sensitivity and – despite the tragic events – humour, the complicated ties between sisters, between mothers and sons and between lovers, set against a background of cultural difference and prejudices rooted in Granada’s long history of Muslim-Christian struggles for power.
“Lamplugh does a great job of unveiling a little at a time – but still maintaining tension until the surprise of the final revelation.” Rebecca Foster, Bookbag
The fact this book is written around the 2004 Spanish train crash, for me, made it almost seem as if the characters were real. They drew you in from the beginning, Deborah older, flamboyant, arty sister living in her adopted city of Granada and Alice the sensible, practical one in the UK. Both are single parents with sons. Deborah’s son 20 year old Mark is from her marriage to Charlie, a man who is more interested in making money than his only son. Mark has problems of his own and the story is told through his and Alice’s eyes.
Alice and her son Timmy, arrive in Spain following the crash. Deborah is in a coma, her partner Paco grief stricken; the prognosis does not look good. Alice has an urgent task. She needs to find her sister’s diaries before anyone else finds them and discovers the dark secret they both share. The story is beautifully told, with the flashbacks in the form of Deborah’s diary entries. Another dimension is added to the story as we hear of the release from prison of Hassan, an ex-partner of Deb’s. A man who caused her a great deal of trouble. I loved the story’s structure, as past and present come together through Deborah’s diary entries. And Barbara’s description of Spanish life, the cafes, the markets are so well done you almost feel you are there. A splendid read.
I would like to thank the author for donating a complementary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Lamplugh has been writing since the 1970s. Her love of adventure and travel took her first on an overland journey to Kathmandu, which inspired her to write Kathmandu by Truck (1976) and then on the Trans-Siberian railway, by boat to Japan and around SE Asia, which led to her second book, Trans-Siberia by Rail (1979). Becoming a mother put a stop to such long travels but not to writing. She turned instead to fiction, inspired by the often fascinating and unexpected stories of ordinary people she came across in her work in the community. She also wrote occasional articles for magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian and Times Educational Supplement. In 1999, with her two children now independent, she moved to Granada in Spain, where Secrets of the Pomegranate is set. Her encounters and experiences of life in Granada provide her with abundant inspiration. For several years she worked as a features writer for Living Spain magazine, contributing around a hundred articles on topics ranging from Olive Oil to Machismo to Spanish names. Alongside her writing, she teaches English, edits and translates. With two children and five grandchildren in the UK, she makes regular visits there. Other passions include cycling, dancing, travel, jazz and reading.
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