The Bookvent Calendar 2019: Day 11 – Part 1

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#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2019

My day eleven #bookvent choices are once again split – two very different books by two very talented women. Both are packed with emotion and mystery and with a deep rooted family secret at their heart that made it impossible to choose between them. So I didn’t. Book one is the third part of a series which sees the action split between the past and the present, each story drawing upon some of the darkest times of recent history and blending them seamlessly into the present day. PResenting a challenging investigation, both mentally and emotionally, this story is perhaps one of the most personal yet for the author and it shows. My first day eleven bookvent selection is

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Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese 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 soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation 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.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning instalment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

Available From: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
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I don’t know how she does it, but each and every time Johana Gustawsson manages to take readers on a journey, one which tests them mentally and emotionally and takes them deep into a history which deserves never to be forgotten, if only so that we can learn from those past mistakes. This time around the period we are faced with is Franco Spain, a part of history I will admit I knew nothing of. In an investigation which hits home for the central characters in so many ways, as a reader you are pushed to the very edge but never once taken beyond a point that is comfortable into the gratuitous. There are some potentially very upsetting scenes, but all are relevant and only express enough of the horror of that part of Spain’s history to convey the story, not to glorify it or titillate the reader. The modern aspect of the story centres around a fertility clinic, one where the owners may not have been acting entirely ethically. This is a subject close to the author’s heart, and it shows as she has woven such emotion into the story that parts are really hard to read. I love the characters of Alexis Castell and Emily Roy and the way they interact helps to draw me into the story. This series is opening my eyes to so many aspects of our world history that I can only hope we have learned from, but which, in today’s fractured society, are sadly all too relevant still. Beautifully translated by David Warriner this is another stunning addition to the series.

Compelling, emotional and an absolute must read, you can find my full review here.

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Happy #bookvent reading all

Jen

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