The Snow Gypsyby Published 01 Feb 2019
|The Snow Gypsy.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
From the bestselling author of The Woman on the Orient Express comes a haunting novel of two women—one determined to uncover the past and the other determined to escape it.
At the close of World War II, London is in ruins and Rose Daniel isn’t at peace. Eight years ago, her brother disappeared while fighting alongside Gypsy partisans in Spain. From his letters, Rose has just two clues to his whereabouts—his descriptions of the spectacular south slopes of the Sierra Nevada and his love for a woman who was carrying his child.
In Spain, it has been eight years since Lola Aragon’s family was massacred. Eight years since she rescued a newborn girl from the arms of her dying mother and ran for her life. She has always believed that nothing could make her return…until a plea for help comes from a desperate stranger.
Now, Rose, Lola, and the child set out on a journey from the wild marshes of the Camargue to the dazzling peaks of Spain’s ancient mountain communities. As they come face-to-face with war’s darkest truths, their lives will be changed forever by memories, secrets, and friendships.
"The Snow Gypsy" Reviews
I chose this book as my second free pick for January's Amazon First Reads because I was interested in reading a historical fiction novel that takes place in Spain after World War 2. The Spanish Civil War is also a subject addressed in the book and not knowing much about it was another reason I thought this would be a good fit for me. I love it when a book gives me the opportunity to learn something new but unfortunately the characters in this one really dragged the story down and I ended up feeling bored most of the time.
I just didn't connect with the main characters which is a shame because it's not like the author didn't at least try to make them people with interesting backstories. Rose Daniel hasn't heard from her brother in years and goes to Spain in search of him. Lola Aragon's family was killed during the Spanish Civil War and for the last eight years she has been caring for an orphan child. Their paths cross and well, things will never be the same.
I think I was about a quarter of the way into the book when I realized the characters just weren't doing anything for me. They just fell flat and as a result I just didn't really feel all that invested in their lives. A few times in the book the story went in a direction I did not see coming and I would think maybe I could get back on board and enjoy the rest of the book. Unfortunately after awhile my interest would start to wane again.
Sometimes a book just isn't the right fit for you which is fine. Most people enjoyed this book so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
Not too many months ago I watched as an excellent First Read book become a punching bag for a distressing number of folks. This unfortunate event, which is still continuing but with less and less shrill invective, centers not on the book itself, its plot, characters, writing style, or other legitimate elements of storytelling but on three sentences in the Author’s Notes at the end wherein she wrote that the apparent unchallenged and acceptable resurgence of white supremacy in the US served as one of the reasons she was compelled to write her story. I could not believe the “reviews” excoriating the author for her “opinions.”
And here we have a few—at least at the moment—reviewers focusing their ire, not on the book, but the title of the book. Thus they have reviewed nothing but the author’s use of the word “gypsy” in the title, and so we have outrage on the one hand and perhaps a surfeit of political correctness on the other, none of which does readers looking for a legitimate book review in order to decide whether to read this one a disservice. Besides, it’s so very middle school, isn’t it?
When I was choosing which book to read, I hesitated for quite some time because I thought using “gypsy” was a questionable decision since any people understood it was a pejorative term and had been for almost all of the 20th century. In light of the author's apparent knowledge of Spain and its myriad cultural fabric, I would have expected her to not be so insensitive and tone deaf. As another person commented, can we just imagine an author using the N-word in a book title?
All that opinionated rambling aside, I still downloaded this novel and read it all. And liked it quite a bit. The novel, folks, not its title.
This is a strong story, with characters both strong in the face of soul-destroying circumstances and weak when everything just becomes too much. In other words, folks like us. It is a tale of civil war, of fear, danger, and deprivation, all elements guaranteed to wear even Superman down after a while. It is a tale of love—not a romance, thank goodness!—but love outside traditional bounds of family to encompass others who seemingly have no reason to first befriend and then to love. It’s a story of perseverance and friendship and the awful realization that even though the Spanish Civil War has been over for several years, violence, prejudice, and uncertainty are very much present.
I appreciated the evocative details of the small Spanish mountain villages in a region near Granada almost inaccessible back in the day—although tourists by the thousands have discovered them now—and appreciated equally the author’s decision not to overload us with those details at the expense of the story. Rose Daniel the veterinarian and Lola the Flamenco dancer are not Mary Sues; had they been I’d have tossed this book early on. They are flawed, believable women and do not have so much as a gram of feistiness about them. I make these points in light of several other historical novels set during the late 1930s and 1940s in Europe that features feisty women saving the world while indulging in “epic” romances.
This is a complex novel on several levels, and one to be savored. Thus I didn’t read it quickly—what’s the fun in that?—but took some time because you never know if or when you’ll find another good book.
And here endeth the lesson…
Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.
Set in 1946 England , France, and Spain, The Snow Gypsy is told from the point of view of veterinarian Rose and Gypsy dancer, Lola. I "liked" most of the story but felt it didn't really grab my attention until I had reached the second half of the story. This is when it was more detailed about what happened during the Spanish Civil War and we find out more about Rose's brother. Lola and Rose were resilient women and I liked that much of their own personal journeys was about finding their place in the world.
I had the privilege of making The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jayne Ashford my first read for 2019, and way to start with a bang! Excellent book!!
This story follows English veterinarian Rose Daniel on her journey through France and Spain on a quest to finally solve the mystery of her brother's disappearance. The last letter she received from him in 1938 spoke of the need to escape from the little mountain village in southern Spain, and then not another word.
The beautiful scenery, endearing characters, and non-stop twists and turns had me immediately hooked - and lasted from first chapter to last.
5 stars. Definitely recommend!
I thought this book has a great story at its core but execution and details could have been better. I really liked reading about this time period and I found myself very interested in the descriptions of gypsy life. However, I didn't like that there were some side stories of the plot that didn't necessarily lead anywhere, which was pretty frustrating; by the end, it felt like parts were missing to tie up some of the loose ends that had been created. The characters were pretty well developed and I felt myself invested in all of them, so maybe that was the issue with feeling like things were left unfinished & stories untold for some of them (hello Cristobal & Juanita??). Ashford's writing is extremely descriptive which was beautiful for the most part, but there were certainly times where it felt excessive or misplaced and had me skimming past it to get to what was going on.