Spanish Lavender

Written by Joan Fallon
Review by Rachel Malone

In January 1937, Elizabeth makes the decision to stay in Civil War-torn Spain while her family returns to England. Her decision was, initially, made so that she could photographically record the impact of the war on Spain and her people. Finding herself alone in Malaga, she makes friends with two men, one who would be the love of her life, the other she would later marry. Seventy years later, a secret is unravelled by her granddaughter and a world of lies unearthed.

Spanish Lavender is, first and foremost, a love story. A naïve Elizabeth alone in a devastated city finds friendship and love with a young Spaniard by the name of Juan. When he becomes injured on the road to Almeria, he is taken to hospital but with no room for either Elizabeth or their mutual friend, Alex, they are separated and Elizabeth believes Juan dead.

Tragic, uplifting and beautiful, Spanish Lavender doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war, but neither does it concentrate on them. It is vital to remember that Spanish Lavender is a story of love.

The final third of the book suddenly leaps forward by seventy years, and here we meet Kate, the grandchild of Elizabeth. Initially a little confusing, this section helps answer some of the questions raised in the earlier section.  A riveting read and one for reading while wishing for warmer weather!