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As an amateur Spanish Civil War scholar, I was anxious to read and listen to this book. The New York Times review was positive, giving me more incentive. However, the book was enormously disappointing. It was stuffed with paragraph after paragraph of pointless set descriptions that slowed down the narrative causing me to skip whole sections without missing any plot points.
The principal characters, Marian and Amelia were both superficial and the book focused heavily on both their self-doubting inner monologues. This quickly became tedious and frustrating as neither commanded the readers respect and interest.
Many of the secondary characters, most specifically members of Marian's family and her Spanish mother-in-law were completely one-dimensional stand-ins for the evils of the Catholic Church.
What might have been an exciting story of a young woman's coming of age in a critical time in European history was a dull, flat telling of events from the point of view of a timid, reactive and insecure person filled with a uncertainty.
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