Charlotte, a wealth counsellor who knows from personal experience the complications that a sudden inheritance can bring, helps her clients navigate the emotional side effects of sudden wealth syndrome. When she is asked by Mateo Mendoza, heir to a huge Spanish estate, to fly to Madrid to help resolve an issue in his father’s will, she’s confident it will be straightforward. The timing isn’t great as Charlotte’s due to get married the following week, but once her client signs on the dotted line, Charlotte can return to her life in London and her wedding, and live happily ever after. Marrying Stephen might not fill her with excitement, but she doesn’t want to live in the fast lane anymore – safe and predictable is good.
But Carlos Mendoza’s final bequest opens up a generation of secrets, and Charlotte finds herself compelled to unravel the mystery. As Charlotte digs deeper, she uncovers the story of a family divided by Spain’s Civil War, and of a love affair across the battle lines that ended in tragedy.
And while she is consumed in the drama of the Mendozas, Charlotte’s own tragic past catches up with her, threatening to overturn everything in her life she’s worked so hard to build.
The Spanish Promise is the latest novel from Karen Swan, a book with a split timeline and two grand love stories that transcend decades. The dual narratives in the book take place in the present day, but also 1930s Spain. The book explores relationships, family, war, wealth, privilege, legacy and secrets.
Charlotte, a wealth counsellor, is due to be married in a week. Her husband is rude and bossy, and her mother expects very little of Charlotte’s career and encourages her to quit her job. But Charlotte is very good at her job, and when a wealthy man in Spain is set to give his entire fortune to an unknown woman, Charlotte is given the task of tracking down the women and uncovering what secrets are hidden in her past.
“Nene pulled the brim of her hat low. She had stolen it from a peg in the maids’ quarters, the thin shawl and dress too. The dress was slightly too tight across the bodice and a fraction too short in the arms and length — she was so much taller than most other women — but comfort mattered for nothing right know.”
I have to admit, this wasn’t my favourite of Karen’s novels. Perhaps it was the complex and — at times — convoluted storyline or just the overall plot that had me feeling a little bored with the book. I finished it, and I didn’t mind it, but I wouldn’t say I loved it.
The two storylines didn’t feel like they realistically gelled together, and I struggled to relate to Charlotte. A wealth counsellor actually seems like quite a mundane job, and in this book, she shares very little chemistry with her fiancé and so it was pretty predictable what was going to happen with that. I think I just wasn’t the target market for this book, and my disinterest in the storyline was nothing to do with the quality of the book, and everything to do with my reading tastes.
“And then she saw that Montez still had his gun raised and pointed towards the rest of the men — that none of them dared move, neither to save her nor join her. In a flash she understood why.”
As always, Karen is particularly skilled at capturing glamorous settings. No matter the location, you always read her books and feel like you’re on holidays. She captures the feel, the atmosphere, the temperature, and the essence of the place that her books are set in.
Karen is also really great at capturing realistic dialogue and sexual tension between long lost love interests. Charlotte reconnects with an old flame in Spain, and the two of them have a lot to work through if they’re going to overcome their differences and work together on this project.
The Spanish Promise wasn’t for me, but there have been — and will continue to be — many readers who will adore this latest book by Karen Swan.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Spanish Promise
Pan Macmillan Publishers