Category Archives: Books about Spain

Fill your #Kindle with ebooks – why not try the Identity Detective series

No exciting books under the Christmas tree? Are you bored already? Fill your #Kindle with new ebooks by authors new to you. Or start that book you’ve been meaning to read and haven’t got around to buying? Or try the Identity Detective series.Identity DetectiveSo what’s my ‘Identity Detective’ series all about?
Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. And each new challenge makes Rose re-live her own adoption story, each birth mother and father, adopted child, and adoptive parent she talks to, reminds her of her own birth mother Kate. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother, her hopes and anxieties, her guilt and fear, and her longing to see her baby again.

Here’s what some readers said about ‘Ignoring Gravity’ 5* “Ignoring Gravity is a very enjoyable read from beginning to end. The warm story will tear at your heart strings one moment, and make you smile the next.”
5* “I gave Ignoring Gravity 5 stars out of 5 for being a thought-provoking read on a sensitive and sometimes difficult subject. Knowing who you are and where you came from is important whether you are adopted or not.”
5* “This book genuinely surprised me. Reading the first couple of pages I almost put it down but I am really glad I didn’t make that mistake because as it drew me in I found it increasingly difficult to stop reading. I love books about secrets and this was no exception.”
Amazon UK 
Amazon USA

 … and about ‘Connectedness’ Sandra Danby5* “This is a novel that I found hard to put down as it swept me along on a roller-coaster of an emotional ride. I had to pull myself together not to burst into tears. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a very well-written story about a family saga.”
4* “This novel is deftly plotted with vivid characters and a mesmerizing story. I truly loved the way Justine’s past was woven into her present, reminding us that we are all, like her art, collages made from the memories and experiences we pick up on our travels and via the people we meet.”
5* “A beautiful book on so many levels. The title and the stunning cover drew me in and the prologue took my breath away. I had to read on to know why, what, who. I felt for Justine – her ache, angst, grief, her quest for answers – all so realistic, so sensitively portrayed.”
Amazon UK
Amazon USA 

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Fill your #Kindle with ebooks – why not try the Identity Detective #saga series https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xq via @Spanish_Valley

#Christmas is coming… give someone a signed paperback

Are you planning your Christmas present list yet? If you know an avid reader who loves the touch and smell of real books, why not give them a signed paperback copy of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ or ‘Connectedness’? ChristmasSimply click the link below to order at my website. Payment is quick and secure by PayPal and you can specify your personalised dedication.

It couldn’t be easier! Available in the UK only.

Order ‘Ignoring Gravity’
Order ‘Connectedness’

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Give a signed copy of IGNORING GRAVITY or CONNECTEDNESS as a #Christmasgift https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2wF via @Spanish_Valley

¡Aquí está! ‘Connectedness’ is here

Here it is, my new novel Connectedness is published today. And for my readers based in Spain, it features a lot of familiar things. Read it and see what you recognise!

Art✔
Romance✔
Picasso✔
Love and Loss ✔
Tapas✔
But most important of all, is Málaga ✔

Here’s what some of the early reviewers have said:
5* “Although this is a follow-on novel from the first, Ignoring Gravity,  it could equally be read as a standalone. Danby does not rely just on the story of the search carried out by her identity detective, Rose Haldane, but builds up a detailed and believable picture of the life of her main character Justine. Well written with realistic characters and the setting out of the story in a carefully and balanced way, I would highly recommend this novel.”

4* “There are deep thoughts on life and surroundings that are recognizable to all of us. Eventually all comes together in a heartfelt ending. Connectedness  is a gripping story of love, loss and the human struggle to be your one true self. An amazing read.”

To celebrate the arrival of ConnectednessIgnoring Gravity  is free to download here. TODAY only.

So what’s ‘Connectedness’ about?
TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

If you like the novels of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore, this might be for you. Click here to read an extract.
Sandra Danby

‘Connectedness’ by Sandra Danby, [#2 Identity Detective series] [Beulah Press]

5 to remember
aquí está – here it is
una novela – a novel
un seguimiento – a follow-on
gratis para descargar – free to download
una lectura increíble – an amazing read

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
CONNECTEDNESS by Sandra Danby  #Kindle #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2k9 via @Spanish_Valley

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Connectedness: coming soon

I drank hundreds of cups of coffee in Málaga, walked the streets of the Old Town and La Playa de la Malagueta, I’ve sat on benches in Paseo del Parque and eaten plates of fried fish. As you’ll gather, it was hard researching the Spanish element of my second novel, Connectedness! Book two in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, Connectedness will be published on May 10, 2018. This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga. Sandra DanbySo what’s it all about?
TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

If you like the novels of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore, this might be for you. Click here to read an extract. Sandra DanbyAbout the ‘Identity Detective’ series
Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. And each new challenge makes Rose re-live her own adoption story, each birth mother and father, adopted child, and adoptive parent she talks to, reminds her of her own birth mother Kate. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. Sandra DanbyIn the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Read an extract of Ignoring Gravity here. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother, her hopes and anxieties, her guilt and fear, and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz, and how the now elderly woman is desperate to know her story before it is too late.
Sandra Danby

‘Connectedness’ by Sandra Danby, [#2 Identity Detective series] [Beulah Press]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
CONNECTEDNESS by Sandra Danby  #Kindle #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2jV via @Spanish_Valley

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My Top 5 books about Andalucía

Recently I read a post by fellow blogger and Brit in Spain, Alastair Savage, reflecting on his favourite books about Barcelona. Challenged by Alastair to do the same exercise for Andalucía, here’s my choice. I have avoided ‘general’ books about Spain such as Giles Tremlett’s excellent Ghosts of Spain, one of Alastair’s picks, and have concentrated on Andalucía. Read Alastair’s guide to Barcelona books here.

‘Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucía’ by Penelope Chetwode
Penelope ChetwodeI love my secondhand copy of this slim book for its pale blue cover. Penelope Chetwode, wife of poet John Betjeman, takes a circular ride on her horse Marquesa, around the countryside between Granada and Úbeda in Andalucía in 1961. Charming, quirky. Read my full review of Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucía here.
‘Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucía’ by Penelope Chetwode [UK: Eland]

‘South from Granada’ by Gerald Brenan
Gerald BrenanDecades before ex-Genesis drummer Chris Stewart bought a house in the Alpujarras, Gerald Brenan lived in Yegen. This is the Spain of the pre-Civil War, contrasting extreme rural poverty with the beauty of the surroundings in the mountains south of Granada. Read my full review of South from Granada here.
‘South from Granada’ by Gerald Brenan [UK: Penguin Classics]

‘Andalus’ by Jason Webster
Jason WebsterPart travel book, part memoir, Andalus tells how writer and journalist Jason Webster explored Spain looking for its Moorish heritage. After Andalus Jason Webster went onto write other travel books about Spain, each of which I enjoyed, before writing his Max Cámara crime novels set in Valencia. Read my full review of Andalus here.
‘Andalus’ by Jason Webster [UK: Black Swan]

‘Driving over Lemons’ by Chris Stewart
This is the Big Daddy of living-in-Andalucía books, with Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence it invented a new genre. Now part of the ‘Lemons Trilogy’ comprising A Parrot in the Pepper Tree and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society, this is the first and best about life on a remote, hill farm. True isolation. Read my full review of Driving Over Lemons here.
‘Driving Over Lemons’ by Chris Stewart, #1 The Lemons Trilogy [UK: Sort of Books]

‘Death’s Other Kingdom’ by Gamel Woolsey
Gamel WoolseyThe American writer Gamel Woolsey was married to Gerald Brenan. This slim volume recounting their days at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War can be read in one day. She watches Málaga go up in flames from their villa at nearby Churriana, worrying for their safety and that of their neighbours, and what will happen to everyone. A very personal account. Read my full review of Death’s Other Kingdom here.
‘Death’s Other Kingdom’ by Gamel Woolsey [UK: Eland]

5 to remember
un paseo circular – a circular ride
el patrimonio moro – the Moorish heritage
verdadero aislamiento – true isolation
el escritor estadounidense – the American writer
ir en llamas – go up in flames

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My Top 5 #books about #Andalucia https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2jh via @Spanish_Valley

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Book review: Granada, A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

Granada, a pomegranate in the hand of god by steven nightingaleAnyone who really wants to understand the magic of Granada should read this book. It combines the history of a city, of al-Andalus, its art, music, philosophy and poetry with the story of an American family moving into a house in the city’s Albayzín.

The author’s description of the delighted reaction of his new neighbours to his small daughter, and their welcoming generosity, mirrors exactly our experiences as newcomers in rural Andalucía. There is a charm about the people here, an old-fashioned courtesy and fascination with strangers, which the author also describes in Granada.

At times I wished for a little more about modern-day Granada and less of the history [this has the feel of an academic book] but it is written with an easy poetic style and is a broad introduction to Moorish Spain. It is a rich and complicated story which, when known, aids understanding of today’s Andalucía.

Click here for more about Steven Nightingale’s books.

If you like this, try these:-
‘The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society’ by Chris Stewart
‘South from Granada’ by Gerald Brenan
‘Ghosts of Spain’ by Giles Tremlett
If you like books, check out my book reviews at my website.

‘Granada, A Pomegranate in the Hand of God’ by Steven Nightingale [UK: Counterpoint]

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GRANADA by Steven Nightingale: an insight into al-Andalus #bookreview via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1AQ

Book review: Midnight in Europe

midnight in europe by alan furst 24-8-141938. Spain at war, Europe on the brink of war. This is the first World War Two novel I have read about the overlap of the two wars, the impact of one on the other, and the approaching shadow of fascism. Nothing happens in isolation. The Spanish Civil War is notoriously difficult to understand: so many factions, changing names etc. Sensibly, Alan Furst concentrates on one aspect: the supply of weapons to the Republicans fighting the fascist army of Franco.

A secret Spanish agency in Paris sources arms and ammunition for the Republicans. Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish lawyer living in Paris and working for a French law firm, is asked to help. Unsure what he is getting into, but resigned to help his mother country, he is soon looking over his shoulder to see if he is being followed – he doesn’t know who by, it could be the Spanish fascists, the Gestapo, the Russians. Inter-cut with Ferrar’s story are excerpts from the front line in Spain where preparations are being made to fight the Battle of the Ebro. The need for the weapons is desperate, as bullets are counted out for each soldier.

Working with an odd mixture of diplomats, gangsters and generally shady characters, Ferrar first travels to Berlin where there is a glimpse of the pre-war country which with hindsight gives us a chill. The Gestapo follows them at every step. Then there is a nail-biting train journey to Gdansk, as an arms shipment goes missing. The climax is a thrilling boat journey from Odessa to Valencia. Ferrar, is a lawyer not a spy, he is simply an ordinary man doing what he can to help. An ordinary man who is, meanwhile, having a sprinkling of love affairs which may or may not be authentic.

If you have been put off before at reading novels about the Spanish Civil War because the politics is confusing, you will enjoy this novel. The shadow of war in Europe is cast over every page, the sense of approaching doom however does not seem to affect the nightclubs of Paris, or the shops of New York where the cheerful atmosphere seems unreal. Ferrar faces moving his family from Louveciennes on the outskirts of Paris, the picturesque country west of the capital which was painted by the Impressionists, to the safety of New York.

This is the first novel by Alan Furst I have read, picked up at random in an airport bookshop. I will read many more.

Click here for Alan Furst’s website.
To read an extract from the book, click here.
Watch this You Tube interview with Alan Furst, speaking about Midnight in Europe.

If you like this, try these:-
‘Ghosts of Spain’ by Giles Tremlett
‘A Rose for Winter’ by Laurie Lee
‘Soldiers of Salamis’ by Javier Cercas
If you like books, check out the book reviews at my website.

‘Midnight in Europe’ by Alan Furst [Weidenfeld & Nicolson]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
MIDNIGHT IN EUROPE by Alan Furst #bookreview via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1eA