The Snow Gypsy
Lindsay Jayne Ashford
Lake Union Publishing, Feb 2019
332 pages, ebook, hardcover, paperback, audible book
Women’s Lit, Historic Cultural Fiction
The cover is very nice with its vivid picture of Lola dressed for the dance against the backdrop of Granada. It captures her intense inward focus while she’s dancing. And it matches the description of the costume in the book.
The story is complex and interesting. One young woman is searching for something. And the other young woman is running from something. Both have suffered loss, and neither of them has all the answers of their losses. Rose is a Jewish Brit looking for answers into the question of her brother’s disappearance after the war. He was involved with the resistance, but she doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. Where he might be or if he left anyone behind. She’s not even really sure where to start to find him. But she has his picture, his last letter, and hope as she and her Afghan hound, Gunesh head off into Spain with more questions than information.
Lola is a city Romany who has declared that she will never go back to the town where she was born. What she saw puts her in danger and if she goes back, the faceless man will kill her. She knows who he is, but not what he looks like so she has no way to avoid him. She’d escaped with her life and one other. A newborn life, a child who was given to her by the dying mother while her lifeblood still pumped through the umbilical cord. She now claims her as her own child, Nieve.
Nieve is the factor that draws the Rose and Lola together and binds them. Both love her as they are drawn together in an effort to protect her and find a life for themselves without prejudice. Lola wants to dance and escape the reach of the faceless man. Rose wants her answers and a life without so much prejudice. Both want a place that Nieve can grow up to be a woman in charge of her own life. Before they can find peace and a resting spot they must once again face the worst of their fears and almost lose what they treasure most. They face jail, dishonest police commandants, resentful widows, life-threatening illness, Gypsies who resent educated Brits, Spanish citizens who won’t tolerate dirty Gypsies, and even one of Hitler’s own.
The characters are so real in their pain and fear, their love and happiness. They are all genuine and believable. The ones that are too good to be true, are too good to be true. They all have a story to tell.
The pace is smooth and the tension hums along keeping you wondering what else can happen to this little group and who will survive to the end. I highly recommend you pick this one up and travel along with Rose to Spain and meet the whole group, good and bad, and fall into their story. Definitely for readers of post-WWII historical novels. Lake Union Pubs did it again!
The Snow Gypsy was in the Top Twenty the week of Jan 30th on Amazon!