Ready to discover another great book for this 2019? Take a look…
Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson
About The Book
The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016
A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.
Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…
‘When are we ever going to stop mopping up all the blood Franco spilled? And that damned pact of silence – the left and the right pouring layer after layer of concrete over the bodies, burying all those war crimes. They should have been digging them up. How else will we see justice? How else can we repair our country, our history? our heritage? We never had our Nuremberg trials here. Franco died shaking Juan Carlos by the hand. The king is dead. Long live the king…’
It’s so sad that I have to read these words in a book, they are so true and they hurt so much!
I think this is the most special book I’ve read this year, it touched me deeply; and I would like to thank the author, Johana Gustawsson for how she has talked about the “tabu” themes we have in Spain; it’s time the world discovers the real Spain, not the clean one that they try to share.
Yes, this is a crime mystery told between three different voices; during the dictatorship in Spain, the voice of a really damaged woman and the present, based in Sweden in which someone killed a family brutally. I know that it doesn’t seem that there’s a connection between them, but let me say that there is, profound and painful, called Blood Song.
I usually like stories in the present, where the detectives investigate the case and try to discover the truth; not this time, I wanted to know more about the past, because the story it was not so strange to me, but it’s something deeply hidden and not easy to read. There was a sentence on the book that sounded so familiar and sad at the same time…
‘Where were you before?’ Dulce asked.
‘In another orphanage, in Barcelona.’
‘Whatever you do, don’t speak Catalan,’ said Lados, ‘or Sister Fernanda will wash your mouth out with soap.’
This is something that not everyone knows, Catalan was forbidden, the school was totally in Spanish; and let’s not talk about the power that the church had everywhere. Because everyone had to go to the church every Sunday, at school everyone was questioned the next day about the sermons, the poor ones that didn’t know the answers were bullied by the nuns (teachers). The author has done a really deep research on how the people lived during the dictatorship, how everyone was scared and had secrets to hide. What the author didn’t explain is that there are hundred of graves around Spain with bodies without identification that the government refuses to exhume and let the families know where are their disappeared loved ones.
The book touches too the delicate world of the IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), how difficult is for the couples and some more grey things about it… I really liked this part of the story too, how couples suffer month after month with the treatment and with positive results. I will not say more, I don’t want to make any spoiler!
This is the third book of the series Emily Roy & Alexis Castells, if you haven’t read any of the previous ones you can read it as standalone, but they are so good that I would recommend you to read all of them, you’ll love them, I am sure!
This is a book I will recommend to everyone, but it’s not an easy read, it will give you goose bumps and you’ll want to stop reading and forget what you’ve read, but that’s why it’s so special. I don’t have words to say how much I like it, it’s not a beautiful book, it’s an interesting book with a lot of insights in so many different themes that it will not let you indifferent. Now it is time to start Blood Song and let the story abduct you…
Here’s the song that the author shared at the end of the book; keep in mind that the world Stake means repression, dictatorship and freedom.
About The Author
Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.