Saturday 20 March 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Spanish Girl - Jules Hayes

A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth... 

Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past. 

As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain's civil war - when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart. 

But can Isabella trust the man she's fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed...? 

Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love. Perfect for fans of Angela Petch's The Tuscan Secret and Kathryn Hughes' The Letter.

What did I think?

I didn't think I was going to enjoy The Spanish Girl as much as I did; I found it a little hard to get into at first but once I did I was completely enthralled.  I was so captivated by the story that it made me cry at a particular heartbreaking and poignant moment and if that's not an indicator of a good book, I don't know what is!

The dual timeline of 1937 and 1976 works beautifully as both storylines are interlinked and I was equally fascinated by both.  Rather than time flicking back and forth in alternate chapters, Jules Hayes has chosen to group together a good chunk of chapters for each timeline and this really works well.  I felt it helped me to get to know the characters better and made them more memorable when the timeline changed.

Jules Hayes's writing is incredibly authentic, although a little too much at times with a lot of Spanish phrases (followed by translations) but as I don't speak a word of Spanish, they ended up being slightly redundant, although appreciated, words in the prose for me.  I also know very little about Spain's civil war and the Franco regime but the details in the book certainly felt very historically accurate to me.

It may be an era that is often written about but I've never read wartime fiction set in Spain and the effect of war is no less devastating.  The descriptive and emotive writing completely overwhelmed me at times as I was so immersed in the book that I felt as if I was actually there; I could hear the drone of planes overhead and the whistle of bombs as they were dropped.  It's absolutely stunning writing from Jules Hayes.

Poignant, immersive and compelling, The Spanish Girl is an impressive piece of historical fiction; it's beautifully written and highly recommended.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon US

About the author:

I have a degree in modern history and I'm fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.

My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.

I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.

Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016. 

Twitter @JulesHayes6  -
Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor -
Instagram: JulesHayes6 -

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