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Spanish Crossings

Spanish Crossings

Author(s): John Simmons

Location(s): Guernica, London, The Basque Country

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 1937-1947



“Mother declared herself happy.” A woman’s life has been cast in shadow by her connection to the Spanish Civil War and the Basque child refugees from that war in the late 1930s. We follow Lorna from the days in 1937 when her personal, political and career involvement began, as she falls in love with Harry, a member of the International Brigade who had been at Guernica when it was bombed. Harry is then killed fighting in Spain and Lorna might have lost her best chance of happiness. Can she fill the void by helping the child refugees? She is connected to one of them, Pepe, in particular, and as he grows up below the radar of the authorities in England their lives become increasingly intertwined. But can Lorna rely on Pepe as he remains deeply pulled towards his homeland and family that have been placed beyond his reach? Coming through the war, then the post-war rebuilding, Lorna and Pepe’s relationship will be tested by their history.

The novel is written in three parts – in 1937, 1943 and 1947 – with a prologue and epilogue set forty years later. The historical background is based on true stories with real contemporary resonance, in particular the little-known story of 4000 unaccompanied Basque children who escaped the fighting in the period just after the German bombing of Guernica. Set mainly in London, the novel’s dramatic climax takes place in the French town Hendaye on the border with Spain. This is an epic tale of love, politics and conflict with the yearning but elusive possibility of redemption.

Note from the author: Main location is central London, area around Lamb’s Conduit Street and Somers Town.


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Lead Review

Author: tripfiction

When it comes to travel fiction, the title ‘Spanish Crossings’ may mislead some readers, as the novel is set predominantly in London before, during and after the Second World War. A prologue set in...

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