FRANCESCA AND BARCELONA
Writing this blog post makes me very happy for three reasons. The first is that Laia Perearnau, a new author of the agency, and, therefore, a new voice, wins a prestigious award such as the Nèstor Luján, a prize par excellence for historical novels. The second reason is the fact of having received a literary award, since as an agency we are always excited about it. The last reason is that the story in Francesca de Barcelona has a brutal hook, and my intuition tells me that it will bring us much joy.
Barcelona, year 1382. Francesca is a fifteen-year-old Christian girl who helps her grandmother, Bonanada, who works as a midwife. Her grandmother teaches her the secrets of the trade and introduces her to the world of healing plants, but that is not enough for the protagonist. Although she lives in a very humble environment, she is determined to become a doctor and a surgeon. There is only one problem: this profession is exclusively for men and making a place for herself is almost impossible.
Thanks to her profession as a midwife, she often visits Callo (the Jewish quarters of the city). There she meets Astruc, a Jewish boy who comes from a family of doctors and wants to study medicine. The two will come to an agreement to share their knowledge: Francesca will teach him everything she knows about plants and he will give her access to his books. But medicine is not Francesca’s only passion: she is in love with Martí, her childhood friend, and this love will mark the transition into adult life, which will be full of obstacles, love, betrayal and passion.
Based on a true story and with an absolutely dazzling narration, Francesca de Barcelona skillfully takes us into 14th century Barcelona, a time when diseases were wreaking havoc among the population. In this novel, Laia Perearnau creates a moving account of the life of an extraordinary woman, full of determination, who fought tirelessly against the limits imposed on women of her time.
I think it is an ideal novel to read this summer and be very satisfied, because we already know the success of medieval times, the city of Barcelona and a brave woman as a protagonist, who really existed. For lovers of historical novels, Francesca de Barcelona will be a cocktail in which no ingredient is missing.