At their family hilltop villa, Lucy awaits the arrival of her brother and sister for their mother’s annual birthday party. Although this time, their mother won’t be there.
Struggling at Malaga airport with her fractious four year old, Jo has already lost her case and is dreading arriving without its precious contents.
For Tom, returning to Casa de Sueños stirs up all sorts of memories – then a beautiful face from his past appears . . .
Over one long, hot weekend, past secrets will spill out as three siblings discover more about their family and each other in this gorgeous, warm and witty new novel from Fanny Blake.
What we say – review by Nikki Mason:
This is a beautifully easy to read book: both fraught and relaxing at the same time with its peaceful setting but eclectic characters full of secrets and tensions.
In their homely but stunning Spanish villa, high in the hills, three siblings meet to scatter the ashes of their mother, Hope. Each brings their own worries and wishes to the weekend but with a houseful of relatives and Hope’s friends – things were never going to be easy.
My favourite thing about this book, aside from the balmy holiday atmosphere, is the relationship between Jo, Tom and Lucy. Each has been affected differently by their quirky mother but the way they interact felt so genuine and fraternal, it had me longing for my own sibs.
Each new character and plot detail adds a new spice into the mixing pot of the challenging weekend and you’ll become as desperate as the characters to find out where things will lead. It’s pure escapism with a fix of high drama: the stuff that dreams are made of.
If House of Dreams has wet your appetite for idyllic Spanish settings, then Fanny Blake, has just the thing for you!
From The Author: 5 Great Reads Set in Spain
The greatest book of all that’s set in Spain is of course Cervantes’ Don Quixote, but although I had to mention it, I’m going to choose novels that are more recent. Years ago I studied for a degree in Spanish so Spain has been close to my heart for a long time. That’s one of the reasons I set my latest novel House of Dreams there. Here are five novels that really capture the essence of the country that I want to recommend and share.
The Muse by Jessie Burton (Picador)
The novel swings between 1960s London and 1930s Spain where Olive Schloss has come to stay with her parents near Malaga. Her growing friendship with an aspiring painter, Isaac Robles, and his sister Teresa, has repercussions that will reach across three decades to affect the lives of two women in London, Trinidadian Odelle Bastien and the mysterious Marjorie Quick. I absolutely devoured and loved this novel. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (W&N)
I remember this making an indelible impression on me when I read it. Set in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War, it tells of a young boy who discovers a book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books that captivates him. He tries to find more by the same author, Julian Carax, but everything he has written has been destroyed. And someone wants the copy Daniel has. Dark gothic, brilliantly written and I found it completely involving.
Winter in Madrid by CJ Sansom (Pan)
Again set in the aftermath of the Civil War, this is a fantastic political thriller. The paths of three old school friends from England cross in Spain – Harry Brett, Sandy Forsyth and Bernie Piper. Harry is sent to make contact with Sandy who he finds living in Madrid with Bernie’s mistress. Bernie was reported missing, presumed dead, during the war but is he? The novel flips back and forth in time, building up the tension between the characters until the suspense becomes almost unbearable.
Or the Bull Kills You by Jason Webster (Vintage)
I’m really enjoying this series of crime novels set in Valencia that features Chief Inspector Max Cámara. In this, the first, a young matador is found murdered and Cámara, not a bullfighting aficionado himself, is plunged into Valencian and bullring politics. That may not sound so enticing, but Camará’s a brilliant creation and the plot twists and turns very satisfactorily.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (Arrow Classic)
I read this a long time ago but remember how thrilling I found Hemingway’s depiction of British and US expats who decamp from Paris to the bull-running town of Pamplona. This gripping portrait of the lost generation was the novel that propelled Hemingway into the literary limelight. I’m tempted to go back and re-read.
House of Dreams (Orion) by Fanny Blake is out now