Without a Second Thought
Diane knew nothing about the Spanish Civil War, and the only thing she knew about the dictator Franco was that Alberto, the worldly, successful Spanish engineer she wanted to marry, called him “benevolent.”
The insights into daily Spanish life could only be told by someone who lived them, and loved most of them. Diane filled her letters home with happy anecdotes about maids and doormen, in-laws and food, but underneath the comfortable exterior lingered vague images of Franco’s police and ghosts of the Civil War—the war no one spoke about, or mentioned only superficially, except for Alberto, who had recounted his harrowing experience as a teenager fleeing the siege of Madrid. It was Alberto’s increasingly alarming behavior that made her fear for her marriage, and ultimately made her fear for the safety of her daughters.
When she saw no other way out, Diane faced the fear the only way she knew how.
In many ways, American born Diane Benitez’s formative years were preparation for her cosmopolitan life ahead. Her enthusiasm and empathy for all things ‘foreign’ would greatly help her adapt to life in Franco’s post-Civil War Spain. Diane would happily embrace the enormous cultural differences between the land of her birth and that of her Spanish husband, Alberto. How vividly and sympathetically she captures the rigid class ridden Catholic society, their delicious traditional cuisine, the breath-taking scenery and architecture and the interesting characters she encounters. However, nothing could have prepared her for trying to raise two loving daughters in the company of an erratic, alcoholic husband. Her stoicism finally reaches breaking point forcing her to take action. An absorbing, imaginative read full of love, hope, despair and fortitude.Jan Devey formerly British Embassy, The Netherlands and author of “Can I Take Worms to Britain” and “Just Desserts“.