Consuelo grows up in the mountain village Boeza in the North of Spain. Life there is hard, and her stepmother and the work in the coal mine don’t make it any easier. In the mines, she meets Rogelio, who has suffered terrible things: hunted as a traitor to his nation by Franco’s henchmen, he has been imprisoned and tortured. Together, Consuelo and Rogelio give their lives new meaning, and soon their daughter Elvira is born. But when his own brother betrays Rogelio, they have to flee the country. In Argentina, they find a new home and certain happiness, raising their two children on a tiny island of their own in the Tigre river delta. However, also this idyll ends when something terrible happens to Elvira, something that is never mentioned again. Finally, Consuelo and Rogelio move to the city, and the island becomes a place of happy refuge for their grandchildren. Their granddaughter Sofía in particular wants to find out more about her origins, and after Rogelio’s death she sets upon reliving Consuelo‘s past with her grandmother.
La abuela civil española (“The Spanish Grandmother”) is an intimate family portrait full of tenderness, whose characters are not only true-to-life but also based on the author’s own ancestors. Both Stefanoni’s warm tone and her unsentimental prose make this novel so outstandingly profound and powerful. The ideal book for the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, which will be commemorated in 2016.