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The Red Gene Paperback – 18 Apr 2019
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This fine historical novel traces the intergenerational legacies of the Spanish civil war through two groups of families, English and Spanish. At the narrative core is an English nurse who volunteered in the civil war, was caught in the violence of the Republican defeat and eventually returned to Britain. The parallel narrative follows three generations of Spanish families whose lives, unknowingly but irrevocably, were intertwined with Rose's Spanish experiences. The author, an English writer and long- resident in Granada, effortlessly evokes the powerful ethos of the civil war and of life during the dictatorship and the post-Franco transition to democracy. Quite simply, this is an enthralling novel with real historical heft. --Judith Keene
An evocative story of Spain set against the background of civil war and its aftermath. It focuses on individuals in Spain and England who were caught up in it, unknowingly sharing a remarkable story of connections. The big themes of history are brought alive through the stories of a diverse cast of characters. --John Simmons
The Red Gene begins as an action story: the adventures of Rose, a young English nurse who goes to Spain to help the victims of the civil war, falls in love and unwittingly sets in motion a chain of consequences that will ring down the decades. Barbara Lamplugh is bold enough to look at lives on an epic scale. Her wide canvas takes in two countries, several families, five generations and nearly 80 years. Yet her story remains intimate in focus and poignantly observant of those vital close-up moments, whether in an English vicarage garden, a chaotic wartime hospital ward, or a festival in a Spanish village. This is a touching tale of motherhood under pressure: of love, loss and reparation for Rose and Consuelo, the two vastly different women at its heart. The suspense mounts as we wonder if they will ever meet. The Red Gene is a fascinating read that affirms the importance not only of the family you have, but also of the family you don't know you have. --Jane Sullivan
About the Author
Barbara Lamplugh started out as a travel writer in the 1970s, inspired by a life-changing overland journey to Kathmandu in a converted fire-engine. Her love of adventure then took her backpacking around SE Asia via the Trans-Siberian Railway and Japan. Two travel books, Kathmandu by Truck and Trans-Siberia by Rail, were the result. Another new experience motherhood came next, putting an end to her extensive wanderings. However, she continued to write, turning now to fiction. In 1999, spurred by the challenge of living in a different culture, she headed for Granada, Spain, where along with the energising light of the sun, she found her dream job as a features writer for the magazine Living Spain, writing on topics as diverse as garlic, machismo, the life of a lighthouse keeper and the nightmarish experience of being trapped at an all-night drumming festival. Although her heart and home are in Granada, where her 2015 novel Secrets of the Pomegranate is set, she makes frequent visits to the UK to spend time with her children and grandchildren. Her new novel, The Red Gene, will be published by Urbane in April 2019.
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