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Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The Girl From Guernica by Karen Robards

The Girl From Guernica by Karen Robards
Published by MIRA ISBN 9780778309963
Hardcover, $27.99, 464 pages

Karen Robards’ riveting new historical novel, The Girl From Guernica, takes the reader inside the horror of the Spanish civil war in April 1937 when the residents of the small town of Guernica in Spain are terrorized by an air raid that drops bombs on the city setting it ablaze. Residents who try to flee are shot dead in the streets.

Sixteen year old Sibi wakes up trapped under the rubble of a building and is rescued by  Griff, an American military attaché . Sibi tells Griff that the planes were German planes, a fact she knows because her German father helped design them.  When Sibi tells a reporter the same thing, that the planes were German not Spanish as thought, that leads to trouble for Sibi.

Sibi’s father comes to Spain to take her and her sisters back to their home in Berlin where he continues his work on rockets. When the Nazi leaders read the reporter’s account of German planes bombing Guernica, suspicion falls on Sibi as the person who spoke to the reporter.

In order to save her family, Sibi lies and becomes a tool of propaganda for the Nazis. She is forced to speak to reporters and make filmed statements stating that it was Spanish planes who reigned terror on their own countrymen. 

When Griff reconnects with Sibi, she offers to spy on her father and his colleagues for the Allies. Griff reluctantly agrees, knowing that Sibi will be putting her life in danger, but as Sibi says, her life is already in danger.

The Girl From Guernica is a riveting, thrilling novel. Robards doesn’t let up on the tension from the horror of the bombing of Guernica to Sibi’s meetings with Nazi leaders to her attempts to get information to Griff to the suspenseful conclusion, and my heart was in my throat the entire time. 

As someone who knew little about Guernica outside of the famous Pablo Picasso painting of the same name, I found the premise of the story fascinating. Sibi and her family are characters that work their way into your heart as you root for them to survive “by whatever means necessary.” Fans of WWII historical fiction like The Nightingale and All The World You Cannot See  will want to put The Girl From Guernica on their TBR list.

Thanks to Harlequin Books for putting me on their Fall 2022 Historical Fiction Blog Tour.

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