Saturday 20 April 2024

This fast moving historical novel is a story of love, politics, class prejudice, intrigue and betrayal in the year leading up to the Spanish Civil War.


The Winds of Change
By Joan Fallon

Publication Date: 30th September 2023
Publisher: Scott Publishing 
Page Length: 322 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 20th century

The Winds of Change is a story of love, loyalty and betrayal on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, when the country is in political turmoil with strikes and demonstrations, unemployment is high and the people are starving. 

In this complicated love triangle we meet Ramon, a member of the Republican Left, who has accidentally killed a policeman and is on the run from the Guardia Civil and Hugo, the son of the wealthy owner of a local sherry bodega. Both men are in love with Clementina, the beautiful daughter of a well-known gypsy horse trader but there are obstacles in both their paths.

Hugo finds that when he tries to see Clementina again, both his parents and hers do everything they can to stop him.

Meanwhile Ramon's brother, Pedro, is arrested and imprisoned because he will not reveal his brother's whereabouts to the Guardia Civil. Now Ramon has to choose between his brother and the woman he loves.

This fast moving historical novel is a story of love, politics, class prejudice, intrigue and betrayal in the year leading up to the Spanish Civil War.


Hugo can barely contain the excitement that is building up inside him at the thought of getting even a glimpse of Clementina again. He knows he will be heading for trouble if he approaches her, but he cannot help how he feels.
It is early afternoon when they arrive at Doñana. Hugo is driving the horse box and Cristóbal is fidgeting beside him, like an excited schoolboy.
'I can smell something cooking,' his friend says, leaning his head out of the window. 'I say, I think there's a party going on.'
Hugo can hear the clicking of castanets in the distance and the strumming of a guitar. The sound of a man singing Canto Jondo echoes through the woods, and for a moment the singer holds the note in a howl which is more of pain than pleasure. Hugo tries to remember if today is a religious holiday, if so they won't be pleased to see them. He parks the horse box in the usual place and climbs down; the stables are quiet and there is no sign of Vano. Maybe that was him singing.
'I think they're over there,' he says, heading to where a thin column of smoke is floating up through the canopy of trees. 'Come on; let's see what they are up to.'
'Maybe we should come back tomorrow. We don't want to intrude.'
'Don't be ridiculous. If he sent you a message to say that your horse is ready then he will expect you to collect it. I just can't understand why he isn't here.' He studies Cristóbal's face. 'What is it?'
'It's just that, well, he didn't actually send me a message. I just thought that the horse must be ready by now.'
'But he said three days. Well, I suppose that explains it. I didn't think that Vano would just leave us hanging about like a couple of idiots. He knows only too well which side his bread is buttered. Well, we're here now, we'll go and tell him we want your horse today. If you're sure that's what you want. It might not be fully trained. Are you happy with that?'
'Yes, now that we're here, I'd like to see it. Is that all right? You're not just doing this because you want to see that girl again?'
'Come on. You worry too much.'
They do not have to go far before they come to a clearing in the woods where a large fire has been lit and Vano and his family are sitting around it. It is not Vano who is singing, but a younger man who looks very like him and is probably one of his sons. Vano is clapping in time to the music and all eyes are on the singer, a tall, dark-skinned youth with hair that reaches to his shoulders. He is accompanied by an older man on the guitar. A woman wearing a bright pink flamenco dress sits beside him clicking her castanets and joining in the singing from time to time. The delicious smell which is making Hugo feel hungry is coming from the carcass of a young deer that is being roasted over an open fire. The young
 boy attending to it turns the spit slowly, stopping occasionally to baste it with some juices. He looks up and sees them before anyone else notices. The woman in the pink dress has just begun to dance and all eyes are now on her.
'Papa,' the boy calls. 'Visitors.'
Everyone stops and looks to where the boy is pointing then the music resumes and they turn away again. The woman in the pink dress lifts her skirts so that they can see her black high-heeled shoes beating out the rhythm of the music on the wooden board where she dances. Her head is held high and her back is straight; she glances his way and gives him a haughty look and a toss of her hair. Hugo catches a glimpse of her slim brown thighs before she turns away, dippìng and swaying to the music, turning faster and faster until she throws her arms into the air and stops. Cheers of 'Olé,' ring out from her audience and everyone claps. Hugo and Cristóbal join in the clapping.
'Señor Hugo, Señor Herrera de Vega,' Vano says coming over to them. 'Is everything all right? I wasn't expecting to see you today.'
'My friend has had a problem and needs to return to Seville as soon as possible,' says Hugo. 'He would like to take his horse now as he is not sure when he will be back.'
'Well I did tell him that the animal is not one hundred percent tamed, but then when is a stallion ever completely domesticated. I'm sure you want him to retain some of his original spark,' he says, turning to Cristóbal.
'Yes, a little wildness is an attractive thing,' says Hugo, thinking more of Clementina than the stallion.
'I'm sure the horse will be fine,' says Cristóbal. 'I just want him to get used to me before I have to leave.' He looks past Vano at the family gathering. 'Are you having a party?'
'Yes, you could say that. It was my grandson's christening today. Now we are celebrating with all the family.'
'Was that your son singing? He has a lovely voice,' says Cristóbal.
'Yes, that's Álvaro; don't you recognise him?' he asks, looking at Hugo.
'Of course, yes.' Now he remembers that Álvaro was the one who played the guitar and
was always singing. The other brother preferred to play soldiers and they and Clementina would trek through the woods looking for the enemy. Sometimes Vano had let them ride his ponies. Yes, he remembers them all.
'Well, you'd better follow me and I'll get you the stallion.' Vano heads back towards the stables, leaving Hugo and Cristóbal with no option but to follow him.
'The meat smells good. Do you normally celebrate with roast venison?' asks Hugo. He knows and Vano knows that the gypsies have poached the deer from the Marquess's estate, but he is reluctant to accuse him. Nevertheless he wants him to realise that it has not gone unnoticed. If he tells the Marquess then Vano and his family would probably be thrown off Doñana, and there are a number of reasons why he does not want that to happen.

 'This is my first grandson, so it is something special,' Vano says.
He is walking more quickly now; any minute Hugo thinks he will break into a run. Although Vano would never dare to be openly rude to them, it is becoming clear that they are not wanted here; there has been no suggestion that they should join in the festivities.
'So all your family are here today?' Hugo asks, wondering why he hasn't seen Clementina.
Vano grunts an assent, and keeps on walking.
'I was hoping to see Tina,' he says at last. 'I didn't get the chance to speak to her last time.' 'I don't know where she is,' Vano says, through tight lips. He is looking angry now. Cristóbal taps him on the back. 'Leave it, Hugo,' he whispers. 'It will only cause trouble.' 'Papa,' a girl's voice calls. 'Papa, wait for me.'
Hugo spins round. It is her. Clementina is running down the path towards them, her shiny
black hair streaming out behind her and her face flushed from the exertion. He stops and stares at her. 'Tina, what a lovely surprise,' he says, trying hard not to grin too broadly.
'What is it child? Can't you see I'm busy. Whatever it is will have to wait,' snaps her father, continuing to stride towards the stables.
'Don't be grumpy, Papa. I'll walk with you and then when you've finished your business I can tell you the news.'
'So, Tina, you are an auntie now,' says Hugo walking beside her. He would love to take her hand in his, but that would certainly cause problems with her father. He knows that Vano has a reputation for being violent so he does not want to aggravate him, certainly not here with his family close by.
'Yes, he's the most lovely little boy and so good...' She begins to tell him about the new baby and how the christening has gone, but Hugo hears not a word; he is too absorbed in the closeness of her body as she skips along beside him, of the fresh woodland smell of her hair and the gleam of her bare arms. 'You should stay and join us for lunch,' she says. 'Papa, you must invite Hugo and his friend to stay and eat with us. There is plenty of meat.'
'Don't be so stupid, child. These gentlemen have better things to do than eat in the woods with the likes of us,' says Vano, without slowing down.
'We have already eaten,' says Cristóbal before Hugo has a chance to accept. 'And we are expected at the cortijo for dinner; we cannot be late for that. Another time, maybe.'
'Ah, I see you've brought a horse box,' says Vano. 'Good. I'll get the stallion for you, if you'd like to wait here for a minute.'
'May I come with you? I'm so looking forward to seeing him again,' says Cristóbal.
'Of course.' Vano is not particularly happy at this suggestion and gives his daughter a hard stare, which she appears to ignore. 'Follow me.'

Once Cristóbal and the gypsy have disappeared into the stables, Hugo turns to Clementina and says, 'I was hoping to see you today.' He tries to take her hand but she pulls away.
'Don't be foolish Hugo. We will always be friends, I hope, just like when we were children, but we can never be anything more. My father would sooner I was dead than married to a payo. And your father would probably have our whole clan kicked out of Doñana if he thought you were in love with me, which I am sure you are not. You can understand that, can't you?'
'I have never seen anyone as lovely as you, Tina,' he says. Hugo knows she is right, but he refuses to accept it.
'That's silly. You must meet plenty of beautiful women and one day you will marry one of them. We have nothing in common, you and I, but what is the same for both of us is the fact that you will marry whomever your father chooses for you and so will I. My parents have already picked my husband. I have to trust them to pick someone who will treat me well and who is not too ugly.' She laughs at this last comment.
'How can you find it funny? I'm in love with you, Tina, don't you understand? I won't marry whoever my father chooses. I intend to marry for love. I want to marry you.'
'Hugo, you are such a child still. You already know who you are going to marry. I heard your friend talking about it the other day. Some rich heiress from Jerez. So why are you playing games with me?'
He looks down at her, this slight, fragile beautiful girl whom he wants to crush in his arms, understands the world better than he does. Her rejection only makes him want her more than ever. 'Just give me a chance,' he whispers as he spots Vano leading the stallion across to the horse box.
'Here's Papa. I have to go, now.'
'Hugo, come and see this lovely creature,' shouts Cristóbal. 'He must be the most magnificent horse in the whole of Spain.'
For a moment Hugo watches Clementina walk back towards the party then he goes to join his friend. Give him time and he will show her that he is not playing games with her.

Pick up your copy of
The Winds of Change

Joan Fallon

Teacher, management trainer and business woman, the Scottish-born novelist, Joan Fallon moved from the UK to Spain in 1998 and dedicated herself to full-time writing. She is now the self-published author of eighteen books, many of which are historical novels set in southern Spain, and  focus on two distinct periods in the country’s history, the Spanish Civil War and Moorish Spain. More recently she had turned her attention to writing contemporary crime fiction, with a series of novels entitled The Jacaranda Dunne Mysteries but her love of historical fiction has lured her back to writing about Spain in the 20th century in her latest novel The Winds of Change.

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  1. What a beautiful cover! The Winds of Change is now on my to-read list.

    1. The cover really is breathtaking. I hope you enjoy The Winds of Change.

  2. Joan your book sounds utterly enchanting. I have added it to my to-read list, although it might be several months until I get to it.

    1. Happy Reading! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  3. I do so love your cover.

  4. I have just picked up a copy of this book on KU. I cannot wait to read it.

  5. I agree with everyone else, that cover is lovely.


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Mary Anne xxx