Reviewed: “The Poet’s Wife” by Rebecca Stonehill

The Poet's WifeRebecca Stonehill’s THE POET’S WIFE is a sweeping story of a family in the years leading up to, during, and after the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

The title could be seen as a little misleading considering that Luisa’s husband, Eduardo, is more of a failed poet, making her more of a failed poet’s wife. Given the scope of the story, I’d like to think that the title is meant to evoke the idea of dreamers in any society, in any time, in any place.

Eduardo and Luisa are dreamers. They are parents and spouses first, but they are dreamers. He dreams of being a poet because poetry helped him escape a childhood overshadowed by overachieving brothers and could help him live a life overshadowed by war. Dreams are elusive, though, and he learns it in a slow and painful way.

While Luisa is the main character in the story, it is her close friendship with a family of gypsy that makes her life all the more intriguing. Though she is active in political circles for a little while, she soon turns to breaking the rules in more subtle ways – namely befriending and protecting people from one of the most outcast and targeted groups even as her only family is in danger.

Together they raise a group of children who are as different from each other as night is from day and yet each child is the best of what their parents are. Music, art, dreaming, thinking, love, passion, stubbornness, and steadiness… it’s all there and it all flourishes in one of the most harsh environments possible – war.

The true mark of a historical fiction novel is that it teaches the reader something, that it makes the reading want to seek out more information on a thing that really happened in a real time and a real place. Stonehill accomplishes that and more.

I received a copy of THE POET’S WIFE through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. My review will be cross-posted there, on Goodreads, and on my blog.

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