I received a copy of Agustina de Aragòn by Gail Meath from NetGalley. I was intrigued by the historical context of the story. It is a narrative I am not very aware of, so I was extremely curious to start reading it.
Agustina Saragossa is a Spanish legend. Agustina bravely fought during Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Spain. Gail Meath manages to blend this chapter in Spanish history with romance. The story focuses on Agustina Saragossa. Juan Roca is a young sergeant stationed at Barcelona barracks. The first time he meets Agustina, also called Rami by her father and later Juan, he falls in love with her. The first few chapters of the story tell us about the beginning of this beautiful relationship between Rami and Juan.
The main theme of the story is the unwavering bravery of Agustina and the devastating effects of war on the people. There are so many things I learned about the Napoleonic Wars through this book, and the Spanish side of the conflict is something I wasn’t very aware of before. Agustina is such a resilient and strong person right from the start. It is because of the strength of her character she was able to play such an important role in the war. The struggle and perseverance of the people during such time are portrayed really well; it leaves an impact.
Agustina is extremely loyal to her country and keeps a close eye on the political situation. Spain is caught somewhere in the middle of the struggle between Great Britain and France. Eventually, being invaded by the French army. The story follows the characters of Rami and Juan through war, separation, and loss. The characters have a beautiful relationship and the basis of their bond is that they share similar values and beliefs. There is no conflict between them about what needs to be done, even when they suffer immense loss. As a reader, you see their relationship grow and become stronger.
The only issue I had with the novel was that it seem to move too fast at times for my liking. I don’t know if it is because I had limited awareness of the conflict, but I wanted the writer to slow down a little bit so, I get time to absorb the emotional impact of the story. The ending is slightly bittersweet. I know what the ending is for me, but it can be open for interpretation, in a way.
Agustina de Aragòn by Gail Meath is a beautiful historical romance. It is difficult to put the book down because you want to know what happens next. It flows well, only a little quicker than I had anticipated. Overall, it is an engaging and emotional story with incredibly brave characters. I loved reading it.
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