Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life will be marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.
Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling. . . .
She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life will be shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately, not one but two pandemics.
Pageturners talked about all the remarkable characters, and the pace of the book. Comments included “liked the book, easy to read, well written, her other books feature magical realism, it drew me in, but it was so fast, I was exhausted, it was one thing after another, I needed a breather, this is one of the best books we have done for book club, I liked the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 connection, I really wondered about the structure – it was linear, it was a letter to her grandson, it reminded me of The Magician and the retelling of an historical period, enjoyed it, it was about domestic violence, it spanned a century, and enjoyed the writing.”
Pageturners rated the book 2 – 4.5 stars out of 5.
Justin will be touring Central West Libraries in June. He will be speaking at Orange City Library on Tuesday 21st June 5.30pm – 7pm. Be ready to ask questions.