The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publishing Date: 11th July 2019
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Charlotte, a wealth counsellor who knows from personal experience the complications that a sudden inheritance can bring, helps her clients navigate the emotional side effects of sudden wealth syndrome. When she is asked by Mateo Mendoza, heir to a huge Spanish estate, to fly to Madrid to help resolve an issue in his father’s will, she’s confident it will be straightforward. The timing isn’t great as Charlotte’s due to get married the following week, but once her client signs on the dotted line, Charlotte can return to her life in London and her wedding, and live happily ever after. Marrying Stephen might not fill her with excitement, but she doesn’t want to live in the fast lane anymore – safe and predictable is good.
But Carlos Mendoza’s final bequest opens up a generation of secrets, and Charlotte finds herself compelled to unravel the mystery. As Charlotte digs deeper, she uncovers the story of a family divided by Spain’s Civil War, and of a love affair across the battle lines that ended in tragedy.
And while she is consumed in the drama of the Mendozas, Charlotte’s own tragic past catches up with her, threatening to overturn everything in her life she’s worked so hard to build.
Charlotte Fairfax, a wealth specialist, is sent to Spain on her next job. It couldn’t come at a worse time for her, as her wedding is only the following week. However, she’s sure that she’ll do what she has to do and will be back in London in time. But life usually has other plans for us, and soon Charlotte is drawn into the past of the Mendoza’s family – it turns out there is much more than meets the eye, there is darkness and ugly secrets. Moreover, the person she’s supposed to be working with has no idea about any inheritance, so it’s up to Charlotte to delve into the family’s history and what she discovers is shocking for all involved. Will she return in time for her own wedding? And can past hurts be repaid?
I am always eagerly awaiting Karen Swan’s new releases, as I know her books are going to take us to the most exotic/unusual/beautiful locations and they are reads with difference, often incorporating an intriguing mystery and always full of interesting, brilliantly fleshed out characters – and it was exactly like this with “The Spanish Promise”.
It was a shocking, poignant, heart – breaking story set in two time frames, the first one at the time of the Spanish civil war, showing its ongoing affects on many families even long after the event itself, following the life of the Mendoza family, and the second one taking us back to the present day, with Charlotte searching for answers. Both of the timelines had kept me captured as they were both rich in details and full of events. They, of course, intertwine, adding more questions, making us wonder what has happened to the rebellious daughter of the Mendozas, Nene. The author has made it perfect for me, to be honest, alternating between a fascinating and sad historical times that I, must admit, don’t have a great knowledge of, and present, keeping a healthy balance between them.
The characters in this book weren’t flawless but they were realistic and perceptive. I loved Charlotte, how determined she was, and I loved the fact that the author has – again – carefully considered a great and different kind of job for her – I mean, how many wealth counsellors do you usually come across? I think that Ms Swan has described the logistics of this job very well, balancing it with Charlotte’s interesting personal life and the question of her past and this all has made Charlotte an interesting, deep character, and I think I’ve found her story even better than this of Nene, who was also such a strong and colourful character to follow. But Charlotte, I don’t know, she just grew on me and I really enjoyed how digging in the past made her realise what is important to her.
The plot is complex and intertwines many threads but I have never felt confused, thanks to Karen Swan’s clear, eloquent and seamless writing. She beautifully paints a colourful, vivid picture of Spain, effortlessly transporting us into the characters’ world. The plot is wonderfully well – thought and it intertwines and unravels the secrets at the right moments, giving us a vivid, satisfying story touching upon many lighter, heavier and important issues.
Altogether, “The Spanish Promise” was an evocative, captivating and enchanting read, with romance that is alluring, mesmerising and heart – breaking, taking us on a roller – coaster journey through the lives of Mendoza and Fairfax families. It is full not only of money and power but also showing that behind those gorgeous mansions and designer clothes there is much more to meet the eye, that there are lies, secrets and betrayals that can change fate of many other people. As usual, Karen Swan’s addictive novel had me captivated, taking me into another, fantastic world. Highly recommended!