Author: Sandra Bruna Wednesday 6 July 2022

Writing this blog every week is not as easy as it may seem. For me, all my authors are equally important and each work we publish has a beautiful story behind it. It’s a <<we start from scratch>> situation every time for us. We start to build something not knowing how it will turn out in the end, like someone making clay figurines who starts with a mere piece of dough and shapes it to his liking to get a beautiful shape at the end of the process. Our job as an agency is similar, because with each author we represent, we open a different box, full of ideas and words, which will likely result in a new book. Each box is a different and wonderful world, and I can only say that it is a luxury to be part of this process, and it is what makes my job so enjoyable.

José Antonio lives in Rota, so I don’t get to see him much, but I think his writing is magical. When we received his first novel, Life in a minute, we immediately fell in love with it, but when he told me about the subject matter of The War Godmother, which he has just published with Ediciones B, it blew me away. Throughout the book, José Antonio introduced me to a historical figure which I was personally unaware of. I am talking about the so-called war godmothers, who played an important role in the Spanish Civil War.

Madrid, 1936. Aurora has just come of age and works as a nurse in a turbulent city that is barely holding up against fire and war bombs. In this violent climate, she decides to contribute to the cause on the Republican front and begins to write letters to a young soldier, Teófilo, thus becoming —like many other women of the time— a war godmother. In each letter, the two of them will find a refuge in which to express the fears and secrets they cannot say aloud, while discovering a love they had never imagined. However, in a war full of intrigue and espionage, where everyone is a potential suspect, the written word can become the most dangerous weapon…

Years later, isolated in the silence of the post-war period, Teófilo finds out that Aurora is still alive and does not hesitate to try to recover the person who, amidst fire and gunpowder, made the feelings os love, calm and peace blossom within him. This story is a tribute to all those women who used words as one uses rifles and managed to bring strength and hope to soldiers in the war front. Can a love letter change your life?

The power of words is infinite. I know it might sound romantic, or even corny, but transmitting and receiving news through writing had a certain charm. I have always loved being able to express my feelings in my own handwriting. I sent many letters to friends, and even to boyfriends from my teenage years, which I still keep. And that effort, to spill your feelings on paper, were moments that one enjoyed with oneself. It is something very real, and at the same time very beautiful. It is one of the reasons why giving a voice to war godmothers was so necessary.

José Antonio manages to do it with such skill that this novel deserves to be widely read. Every line catches your attention and doesn’t let you go. Once again, I congratulate this author, who outdoes himself with his second novel, even though the first one was already at a very high level. If you haven’t read it yet, you can start with either of the two, because it will certainly leave an impression and you will have a wonderful time, which is what summer reading is all about.

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