“He gripped her wrist and in that second she was so scared that she almost stopped breathing. But she did not back down. She would not back down. She stared right back at him. She knew now exactly what he was.”
This novel can be found similar to novels of Victoria Hislop like The Return, but Bay Of Secrets still is quite refreshing. I’m not a fan of romance, but since I’m fascinated by recent history and especially by the Spanish Civil War, it was no problem finishing the novel anyway. The story about stolen children, niños robados, in General Franco’s Spain is both intriguing and sad at the same time. Bay Of Secrets has three different storylines, set in different countries and one partly taking place in the past. It makes for a multidimensional novel without complicating it too much to be able to enjoy it. Rosanna Ley is able to slowly connect various storylines, and I must say she was able to surprise me when the truth about one of the main characters Andres came out. It’s an interesting novel and a perfect summer read.
Rosanna Ley first introduces us to Ruby, an independant journalist living in London who just found out her parents died in a crash. She goes back to her hometown in the countryside to organize her life, but instead she discovers the truth about her parents… She was adopted. Her birth mother Lauren was a free spirit and really young when Ruby was born. Lauren was living in Spain, travelling around in a VW van with her Spanish boyfriend, when her mother died back in England. She went back to England, bringing her baby Ruby with her, and not long after she left her baby with her mothers friend Vivien without explaining. Vivien wasn’t able to have a child herself, and after a while decided to adopt Ruby as her own to protect her. But now the truth finally has come out, and Ruby decides she wants to find her real mother.
We then travel to Barcelona, just after the Spanish Civil War, where we meet Sister Julia. She is a young girl who was forced to become a nun because her family didn’t have enough money to feed them all. She was born curious, and soon finds herself in a complicated situation… She is asked to work in a private clinic with Dr. Lopez, where pregnant and unmarried women get help. Sister Julia is suppost to give spiritual guidance, but soon suspects something illegal is going on… The future mothers are talked into giving up their children so they can be adopted and better cared for. Those who don’t, afterwards loose their baby anyway in mysterious childbirth deaths. Sister Julia suspects something isn’t right, and starts writing down names and dates of both the pregnant women and the adoptive parents. But she doesn’t know who to turn to with the information she uncovered.
The last stop of the journey is Fuerteventura, where we meet Andres. He is the son of a famous painter, but problems with his father take him away from his island and he moves to the countryside of England. He there starts a life for himself and is able to continue his passion for painting there. Andres then meets Ruby and they fall in love… But things become more complicated when their past intertwines, and Ruby’s real mother Lauren seemed to have lived on Fuerteventura AND knew his father. Andres first refuses to go back to his island and is afraid of ghosts of the past. But as Ruby goes anyway, and she meets Sister Julia, Andres finally decides to come back too. And then Fuerteventura has a surprise is waiting for him…
Bay Of Secrets is one of those books that combine the perfect summer read with historical facts and information about the Spanish Civil War. We travel to both Spain and Fuerteventura along with the main characters, and although I normally don’t like romance novels, I’m making an exception for this one.