Author(s): Hannah Fielding
Series: Andalucían Nights #1
Published by London Wall Publishing on April 9, 2015
A young woman's journey of discovery takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty, and revenge.Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family.
Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.
Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?
"Indiscretion"is a story of love and identity, and the clash of ideals in the pursuit of happiness. But can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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I had high expectations for ?Indiscretion , which was due in part to its description. Stories set in exotic places has always fascinated me. The thing which appealed to me about ?Indiscretion was the setting, which was in Andalucía, Spain. Did it live up to my expectations? Well, sadly it did not. Not that I did not like it. I enjoyed parts of the story and some not so much. I was curious to discover how the events would unfold. However, the rush to get to the end was not high on my list. A book this size (489 pages) would normally take me on average three days to read. Instead it took me over a week.
?Indiscretion follows Alexandra De Falla, a romance novelist, who never experienced being in love. She left London for Spain to re-unite with her estranged family. However, she never expected her welcome to be frosty. She found herself with a stepmother who hated her. A sister jealous of her and a father who was weak and afraid to stand up for her. Secrets, lies and fight for position drove the De Falla clan. Besides the family drama, she found herself caught up in romantic debacle with her cousin Salvador, the man she never expected to fall in love with. She is embroiled in a situation where deceit, jealousy and feuding reigned supremely. Not only does she have to deal with his ex-fiancee; there is also a jealous mistress in the fray.
What I admired about Alexandra as an individual was her willingness to embrace the unknown. She was not afraid to step out of her comfort zone. She is a woman who enjoys adventure and experiencing new things. Her stubborn trait, however, would either make her or break her. Unfortunately, my admiration did not extend to Salvador. I had difficulty warming up to him and by the time the story ended, I still was not convinced to like him.
I enjoyed the initial set up of the romance, but as the story evolved, it frustrated me. The romance became overly dramatic. This was due in part to the actions of both protagonists. It would appear that he is torn between love and a sense of gratitude and honour, but I thought he was indecisive. I did not appreciate how he treated Alexandra. One minute he was hot and passionate and the next he was cold and urging her to return to England. Her response to his actions revealed her naiveté in the affairs of the heart. She used another man to make him jealous, an action which I found detestable. I thought I was reading about teenagers playing at love instead of adults who were truly in love. Because of this, I had difficulty connecting with them as a couple.
?Indiscretion started out slow and it maintained that pace to the end. Readers are introduced to the lush beauty of Spain, its history, the customs and its people. I must confess, when I hear the term gypsies I think of Romania, I never knew that they resided elsewhere. Reading ?Indiscretion , taught me differently. They also live in Spain and appear to be a dominant part of the Spanish culture in the 1950s. The author’s descriptive writing style made me feel as if I were present in every scene. However, there were times when I felt the descriptions were a bit too much, which contributed to the story being lengthy. In spite of this, it was actually my favourite part of the story.
There was a particular scene involving Alexandra and her stepmother, which the author failed to follow upon leaving the issue between them unresolved. Gypsies fascinate me, so they being a part of the story was a plus for me. However, I was hoping for more interaction from them, especially seeing that one of their own was intimately connected to the De Falla family. However, the author did not take advantage of this set up, which was disappointing.
Delving into Spanish history
I have always been fascinated by history, and my favourite aspect of writing a new novel (aside from dreaming up a hero par excellence, of course!) is learning all about the era and setting for the story through research.
For my Andalucían Nights trilogy that meant a fantastic research trip to Spain, and immersing myself in books, films, music – even the cuisine. The challenge was to encapsulate the spirit and realities of different times in history.
For Book 1, ?Indiscretion, I enjoyed learning about what life was like in Andalucía in the 1950s. The story focuses on Alexandra, a half-English, half-Spanish girl who has grown up in England and comes to Spain to connect with her heritage. She steps into a world that is very different to that which she has known in England, more rustic, more impassioned and dramatic, and by far more steeped in customs and traditions. It is the latter which proves problematic for Alexandra: a woman in this time did not enjoy all the rights and freedoms we expect today – heaven forbid she commit an indiscretion. Machismo abounds, and Alexandra must struggle to assert herself as an independent woman in a society that demands women be good little wives and nothing more.
Masquerade, Book 2, tells the story of the next generation, with Alexandra’s daughter Luz as the protagonist. The year is 1976, and a new and exciting climate has sprung up in Spain following the death of the dictator Franco. Luz is essentially a heroine of the sexual revolution that swept through Spain at this time, challenging long-accepted values, rules and behaviour with regard to sexuality and relationships.
What had been taboo, like the use of contraception and sex outside of marriage, became more acceptable, and women discovered hugely important new freedoms: the right to work, to own property, to have a personal account, to travel, to divorce: in short, to carve their own destinies. Imagine how it feels to be Luz in the midst of this massive social change. She can build a career, live independently and explore her sexuality. And yet… change is not quick, and many prejudices remain.
Spain may be breaking down barriers for women to be themselves and follow their passions, but the taboo about falling for a gypsy is still deeply entrenched. Can Luz follow her heart and be herself, or will she be locked in a masquerade?
The final book in the series, Legacy, shifts to the more recent generation, where Andalucía is once more transformed by the galloping pace of progress. But does a more modern heroine have any easier a time of it when it comes to matters of the heart? How does her legacy define her and the choices she makes?
In truth, no matter the historical era and no matter the conditions in which heroines and heroes fall in love, I think the foundations of the story are the same. Love is love, whenever it blossoms – it is timeless, the common experience with which we all identify. Adversities change form; love does not. It is the one beautiful, soulful constant across history. It is what drives us on, what lifts us up, what defines us… and what impels me to write romance novels!
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