A remarkable story of love and sacrifice centred on three young English volunteers in the bloody Spanish Civil War, from the author of The Prisoner's Wife.
1936. Civil war is tearing Spain apart, and the world is on the brink of chaos...
Twenty-one-year-old Lucy is frustrated with her constrained life in Hertfordshire, teaching and keeping house for her domineering father. But she is happy to be living next door to Tom and Jamie, two brothers she has known since childhood, and whom she loves equally.
But everyone's lives are turned upside down when Tom, the younger, decides to join the Republican cause in the bloody war in Spain. His older, fervently Catholic brother Jamie soon follows--but as a reporter for the opposing forces that support General Franco in keeping Spain rigidly authoritarian, with the help of both Hitler and Mussolini.
Lucy decides the only way to ensure the brothers' safety is to defy her father and travel to Spain herself and persuade them to come home. Yet when she sees the horrific effects of the war on the people--especially the children--she quickly joins the lifesaving work of the Quaker volunteers who have arrived from almost as many countries as have the International Brigades of fighters. Lucy knows that both brothers are in love with her; she herself is deeply torn between them.
The atrocities and casualties mount and Lucy knows that the question of which man she might spend her life with might be irrelevent, as the chances of either of them surviving diminish with every passing day.
This meticulously researched, deeply affecting novel is based on real memoirs of the Spanish Civil War. It is both a love story and a tribute to the remarkable women who fought with compassion and bravery to save the innocent victims of a war that was a foretaste of the carnage soon to come in World War II.
About the Author
MAGGIE BROOKES is an ex-journalist and BBC historical documentary producer turned poet and novelist. She was an Associate Professor at Middlesex University, London, where she taught creative writing for thirty years. She was also an advisory fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. Her poetry is published under her married name, Maggie Butt. Her debut novel, The Prisoner's Wife, a tale of love and resilience during World War II, was published in May 2020. Maggie Brookes lives with her husband in London in the UK. Visit her at www.maggiebrookes.uk.
"Acts of Love and War weaves together two highly dramatic stories. The love story . . . [keeps] the reader guessing. . . . The war story concerns the heroic efforts by Lucy and fellow aid workers to save the children. . . . The stories of both the refugees and their protectors are told with honesty, insight and a tenderness that cannot fail to move the reader." —Historia Magazine
"An all-too-timely emotional gut-punch of a novel that creates a world of peace and philosophy, belief and resistance. Rendered in pure poetry, Brookes' threads of poignant grace connect the lives of three unforgettable characters. . . . Immersive and humane, Acts of Love and War . . . cements [Brookes] as one of historical fiction's most lyrical and intelligent voices." —Rachel McMillan, author of The Mozart Code and The London Restoration
"A meticulously researched journey into war-torn Spain. . . . Fascinating, insightful, and poignant." —Genevieve Graham, #1 bestselling author of Bluebird and Letters Across the Sea
"Emotionally captivating and authentic, Acts of Love and War is an unforgettable story of how love is refined and defined when thrust into the crucible that is war. . . . This is a war story that absolutely needed to be told." —Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things
"A vivid, immersive novel about a remarkable woman helping refugees in a bitter, heartbreaking war. I couldn't put it down." —Gill Paul, bestselling author of The Collector's Daughter
"A love story with a twist; a war story with a difference. . . . Inspired by the real lives of aid workers, International Brigaders and Spanish civilians, Maggie Brookes has crafted a beautiful, compelling story of hope and humanity in war." —Nikki Marmery, author of On Wilder Seas
"A gripping, panoramic tale of the very human cost of war, beautifully blending brutal history with timeless questions of love and conscience. . . . At once epic and intimate. Be prepared to lose your heart in the simmering heat of war-torn Spain." —Miranda Malins, author of The Rebel Daughter
"A heartrending but inspiring novel that sheds a light on the hidden heroes of the Spanish Civil War. . . . It swept me up and kept me hooked until the very end." —Katherine Clements, author of The Crimson Ribbon
"Told with honesty, insight and tenderness, a moving and unputdownable story of bravery and endurance in the face of the hurts inflicted by both love and war." —Judith Allnatt, author of The Poet’s Wife
"I knew little about the Spanish Civil War and Maggie Brookes brought it home to me with beautiful, searing clarity. Deft, assured and humane." —Ann Morgan, author of Reading The World
"Extraordinary events sensitively told." —Lucy Jago, author of Nets for Small Fishes
“Brookes’ extraordinary empathy for all of [her characters] triumphs during a time when being needed is a form of happiness.” —Janet Somerville, Toronto Star
"I insist you read this intelligent empathetic novel. You won’t regret it." —Frost Magazine