The Traveller and the Rose by Anita Belli

It is an idyllic summer in Spain, 1936 – but storm clouds of war are brewing.

Unsuspecting young Englishman, Kit Brown, is travelling the country before settling down to a respectable career as a teacher back home. At least that’s what his parents expect him to do. Kit makes friends easily, and Fernando is a kindred spirit. The young Spaniard wants to be a poet, not take over the family business.

Kit is soon seduced by Fernando’s vivacious twin sister Rosa. Being a girl in rural Andalucía, however, she is expected to comply with her parent’s wishes for her future, and it will be much worse for her if her honour is sullied – especially by a foreigner. Political tensions are already mounting in a country in the throes of massive social change, where strangers are not welcome.

Threats from Rosa’s aggressive older brother Juan, and her old-fashioned father do not deter Kit and Rosa, and their passion is to bear fruit. As German and Italian planes begin a merciless assault on civilians fleeing the fascist forces of General Franco, Fernando disappears after joining a militia. Kit is enlisted as a journalist to get the truth to the outside world. and becomes ‘the enemy’ as the fascists gain power.

After he is imprisoned, will he escape the firing squad? And can Rosa, survive her worst nightmare of being separated from all of her loved ones, when the convent in which she is giving birth to their child, is shelled from the sea?

Anita Belli’s compelling The Traveller and The Rose is both elegant and brutal – a rare achievement. Kit and Rosa’s tale is a story to be told over and over in a modern-day massacre of the innocents.

Anita Belli is an author and creative writing tutor. She grew up in Manchester, studied in London and currently lives in , Harwich, Essex. Anita’s work explores how the past ripples through the generations with unintended consequences. Her main interest is historical fiction and her debut book, The Art Forger’s Daughter, explores how a young woman sets out to discover who murdered her father in the latter stages of the Nazi occupation of Holland. She has also published short stories in magazines as well as articles in the dance press.

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