The Poet’s Wife

An unforgettable journey into the heart of one family torn apart by war.

Rebecca Stonehill

Granada, 1920. Free-spirited Luisa and young poet Eduardo fall in love, cementing a bond that can never be broken.

Behind the jasmine filled courtyard, perched amongst houses like clouds on a hilltop, stands a beautiful villa; Carmen de las Estrellas. Beneath its walls live Eduardo and Luisa with their thriving family, but war is looming, casting its shadow over the household.

When Civil War finally breaks out, Luisa and Eduardo must fiercely protect those dear to them. Yet these are turbulent times, and as each of their children begin to make their way in the world, the solace of home cannot shield them from the horrors of war.

The Poet’s Wife is an extraordinary piece of storytelling spanning over fifty years – a heart- wrenching novel of a family devastated by war but bound together by love, loss and hope, told through the eyes of three remarkable women.

My daughter Isabel is born on a day of fire-breathing wind that gusts in hot, furious eddies through Granada. Rather than the heat dissipating by seven in the evening, it has gathered enough momentum and strength to power a steam engine and thus, my first labour is long and arduous. I fix my eyes upon the soaring cypresses and parched mountains through the open window whilst trying to control my breathing, loud exhalations punctuated by the sound of Eduardo thumping up and down the stairs.

‘Eduardo, por el amor de Dios, stay still!’ I scream between contractions, horrified to hear my profane use of the Lord’s name but powerless to prevent it.

‘I’m trying! What can I do?’ he cries through the closed door as his voice crescendos with panic. ‘Just tell me, por favor, what can I do?’

‘I should like you to stop your pacing for a start and – Jesús!’ A shaft of pain tears through my body and as I double over, the midwife mutters something about never before having heard such obscene language and, brushing her hands together, announces the baby is on its way out. As I push and scream the name of every Saint I can remember and strain my child into the world, I envisage the green-grey eyes of my husband on the other side of the door, the only man I have ever loved.

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