Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Barcelona Heiress - A Novel by Sergio Vila-Sanjuan

A Barcelona Heiress: A Novel. Sergio Vila-Sanjuan. Barcelona E-Books. July 2012. 210 pages. 1901 KB. Sold at all major E-Book Retailers.

Barcelona, Spain is on the verge of Civil War in the 1920s.  The story of this multi-layered conflict is narrated by lawyer and journalist, Pablo Vilar.  He's a man who in the name of both careers attempts neutrality in the conflicts but also a man who is constantly being swayed by partisan characters who want him to write articles favoring or defending one side against the other side.  While he is not influenced that much, what he sees and hears is worthy of our attention, for it is the "stuff" of which revolutions have been made for centuries.

The eternal conflict between rich and poor is factually proven when Vilar is taken to the "caves" where the poor live and subsist on almost nothing or the private hospitals financially supported by those with a heart where starving, disease-ridden children are treated with the meager supplies of medicine and vitamins, food, etc.  There are the union groups who are willing to incite and practice violence to obtain their demands.

All of this is exemplified in the mystery which is the center of the story.  It involves an anarchist who assassinates those who have committed crimes but been declared innocent by the courts. There's the heiress of the novel's title whom Vilar would wed but who continues to exert influence on both royalty, nobles, anarchists, union groups and the poor. She is a "woman for all people" and yet one wonders what principles center her real beliefs.  And what about the cabaret singer who is brutally attacked and whose connections are less than innocent or neutral.

One gets a fine sense of the culture of Barcelona and the governmental structure behind the story, involving royalty as well as city, military and provincial authorities.  What Vilar hears in true political style is not what necessarily is!  All is encountered during the most audacious and extravagant social parties and events.  It is hard at times to follow the story because of all the name-dropping that no one could possible remember unless a master of Spanish history.

All in all, A Barcelona Heiress is a fascinating, well-researched work of historical fiction that is packed full of action, mystery, humor, poignancy, and so much more.  Money rules the world - and it can also reform and transform the same!  Impressive novel!

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