Feature book: The Sword and the Rose
This is a story about love and family in 17th century Spain. It spans many years as we follow the lives of twin brothers Iago and Ferdinando de Borja on their quest to find love and the paths that are taken in their lives. At the age of fourteen, both boys set sail on a trip with their uncle on the family-owned ship. They are a rich family who have helped to keep the values of Spain true.
The twins are not identical in looks or personality. Iago is the eldest by two minutes and is known as The Sword for his love of adventure and horsemanship. Ferdinando is known as The Rose as he is quieter and known for reading and learning. This trip is about helping them determine what it is they want out of life as well as to add to the family coffers with silver and produce bought back.
They come from a large, well-known and liked family in Spain. They live in the village of Cullera and their home is known as Villa Sant’Angelo. They grow grapes for their wine, which they are well known for, and also lemon and orange trees. They have servants who are well cared for and are respected. Their wine master, his wife and their children, Margherita and Miguel, are very close to the family. The daughter Margherita is very close to Iago and Ferdinando and has been in love with one of them for a long time.
When the twins arrive home from their trip years later, Margherita is hoping for a marriage proposal from a particular brother but it comes from the other, which starts a chain of events that will change everyone’s lives forever. Iago goes off to war and sees a lot of death while Ferdinando goes off to Naples, supposedly to train with another uncle to join the church, but becomes a lawyer instead and does a lot of travelling.
When Margherita is taken to Valencia to stay with her sister for a while, she meets a possible suitor, Don Ramón de Cabezon. When Margherita’s brother comes to bring her home and Don Ramon and Miguel get into an argument, Miguel loses his life and justice is not served correctly. This starts years of searching when Iago and Ferdinando return to their home again but this also causes a rivalry between the brothers that has dire consequences.
I found this story hard to get into at first. It is very descriptive and jumps around a fair bit. The setting is lovely and travels to many countries I enjoyed. When one couple get their HEA, it is very good. This story shows the strength and courage that people had growing up in these years and the strong religious backgrounds that were the way of life.
Reviewed by Helen S
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.