As many self-published authors will tell you, it can be a bit cringe-worthy having to blow your own trumpet, so it’s always nice when somebody else does it for you! Trish at Between My Lines recently wrote such a wonderful review of The Cross Of Santiago that I had to share it here. It really is the kind of reaction you hope for when writing a book; that a reader will be engaged, entertained and ultimately absorbed by the story. Seeing as the novel is set in Ireland and I am an Irish author, it’s great to get a fellow Irish woman’s opinion. So here it is – hope you enjoy reading Trish’s review as much as I did!
When I started my Green Giants (Irish Author Spotlight) feature, my hope was that I would help other readers find Irish Authors to enjoy. I didn’t realise that it would also introduce me to great writers that I might never have come across. Such as Evie Gaughan, who approached me to read and review The Cross of Santiago. She only had to mention the magic words, Galway and Time Travel, and I was in!
First Line of The Cross of Santiago:
“Wake up Amanda, wake up!”
My Thoughts on The Cross of Santiago:
This book has two settings and I loved both. The first is contemporary Galway – a small, vibrant city in the West of Ireland; a city that is full of fun and art, one I always love to visit. I feel the book really captured the tone of modern Galway really well. The second setting is the failed voyage of The Spanish Armada fleet in 1588. This setting has won this book a place in my heart forever.
If you know nothing about the Spanish Armada and how so many of the ships were shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland and Scotland; then worry not, this book will fill you in. I had forgotten so much of this part of history that it was fantastic to revisit it and I ended up having great discussions about the battle and their mission with my husband who is a history fiend.
I kept imagining this part of the book as a film. The vision of the ships taking 2 days just to leave the port of Lisbon due to sheer numbers is such a spectacular image. I love books that engage your brain and make you want to research more which is exactly what this book did to me.
However this book is not just a book about history (as amazing as the historical setting was); it is also full of intriguing characters. The main characters are Amanda and Xavier. And I have to say both of them have made some very dubious decisions in their lives and I find it hard to say which of their wrong turns I despise more. Despite that I can see how lost both of them are and how both are willing to grow and learn with a little guidance and inspiration from the past.
Their ancestors from the sixteenth century are a different matter. A knight and a peasant girl; their morals and sacrifices shine through the centuries. Annora and Miguel seem to encompass everything that Amanda and Xavier should be but they also hint at the potential that they will blossom into.
Overall, this book has a little bit of everything; an epic romance, adventure, great locations, well researched historical fiction and some dream interpretation. The mixture of the two stories leads to a snappy, well paced story that kept me excited and invested in the plot. And when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the book and talking about book; always a good sign!
Who should read The Cross of Santiago?
I’d strongly recommend this book to all who enjoy historical fiction, especially those who love romantic historical fiction. Also to anyone interested in Irish history or contemporary Ireland; you will find lots of facts here but they are wrapped up neatly in a well told story so it never becomes over-whelming.