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15 June 2020

Como Fuego en el Hielo by Luz Gabás - Book Review

Como fuego en el hielo ('Like Fire in Ice') is a historical drama novel that I absolutely loved. I got this book in Spain, when I was flying back home from Bilbao Airport after having volunteered in the Basque Country. I remember thinking that I'd been consuming Spanish literature for my university course, but that I had been mainly reading classics and that I should, therefore, try more contemporary literature.

The book is set in 1800s Spain, in a mountain town called Albort near the French border. Attua and Cristela are in love and want to spend their life together. While Attua is going to take his father's place in Albort's baths, Cristela is going leave her unhappy routine at home. But life seems to have a different plan in store for them: besides the endless challenges they have to face, the Carlist wars cause daily upheavals and constant turmoil in the quiet Albort...

Como fuego en el hielo is beautifully written. Because it's set in the Pyrenees, it's rich with vivid descriptions of the mountains, natural springs and lushness. It reads well and it's also fairly easy for non-native readers. The language student that is (and always will be) in me enjoyed highlighting words I didn't know to add them to my glossary. Do you do that when reading books in foreign languages?

I loved the characters in the novel, especially Cristela and Aurore, a Frenchwoman solo travelling to the Pyrenees. The story was beautiful and well structured, which reminded me of another story by Gabás, Palm Trees in the Snow. Even if I only watched the film, I found the story incredibly gripping.
I also liked reading about the setting, as I'd never read a story about life during the Carlist wars (a time period which I hated studying in school...).

Thanks to this book I am now inspired to read more Spanish contemporary novels. Do you have any good ones to recommend?

My edition: Luz Gabás, 2017. Como fuego en el hielo. Barcelona: Planeta.
Goodreads: 4/5 stars.

Have you read this book or another one by Luz Gabás? Did you like her style?

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