A great story, following two timelines, grandma and granddaughter learn about passion, love and following their heart. As Charlotte searches for answers about her grandma's past, we also learn about this past side by side with Charlotte uncovering the secrets of the past and finding her own future.
In 2015, Alli Sinclair was voted Favourite New Romance Author by members of the Australian Romance Readers Association following her debut release, Luna Tango – and it’s not hard to see why.
In this, her second book, Alli once again brings us a dual timeline, introducing us to Charlotte Kavanagh in the present and her grandmother, Katarina Sanchez (Abuela) inhabiting both narratives as the novel revolves around flamenco and the origin of a painting that Abuela was given by her father.
While Katarina’s story takes place against the backdrop of the turbulent Spanish Civil War and the rule of Franco as she tries to eke out a living from dancing flamenco, it is in the contemporary narrative that the mystery surrounding the painting begins to unravel as Charlotte finds herself walking the cobbled streets of Granada and coming into contact with the enigmatic Mateo and the Giménez clan, an aloof and secretive gypsy community,
As Charlotte begins to feel the captivating pull of the world of flamenco and the mysterious power of duende, what started out as a journey of discovery on her grandmother’s behalf soon becomes one of self-discovery with Mateo making her want to lose herself in the Spanish culture.
I was captivated by Alli’s first novel, Luna Tango, not just by the quality of her writing, but the way in which she evoked time and place and, once again, I felt as though I had been transported – this time, directly to Granada - enjoying the sounds of flamenco, tasting the strong gitano wine around the fireplace and watching these talented women dance with passion and verve.
I also enjoyed Alli’s use of phonetic dialogue, which is not an easy thing to do because sometimes conveying authentic dialects and natural-sounding foreign accents can prove to be quite challenging on paper. In Mateo and Katarina though, it’s quite obvious that Alli knows the rules of the Spanish language and her use of diction, syntax and idiom has conveyed the exoticness of the accent in both characters very well, adding flavour and colour to the story.
The flamenco dance as well as the flamenco guitarists are both at the heart of Alli’s story which is well researched. This is evident from the manner in which she demonstrates a thorough knowledge of her subject and shares details of not only the exotic locale of Spain but also its customs, language and traditions. Seeing it through the eyes of someone who has travelled there is what enables Alli to weave a solid sense of place into both the past and contemporary narratives, bringing us a story filled with the pulse and passion of flamenco in all its fiery and complicated beauty.
With vivid descriptions of the cobbled streets of Granada that echo with music and secrets, details relating to the mystical Andalusian customs and culture and vibrant flamenco imagery, Alli has given her readers a well-balanced story blending mystery, history, geography, the rhythms and passion of Flamenco and some light romance.