Depicting the horrible living conditions in Spain in the wake of
World War II, this Dickensian novel follows the fortunes of Juana,
a young girl who rejects the poverty and grueling labor in her
country village and heads to Barcelona to find a better life. She
soon realizes, however, that conditions in the city are just as
crushing and in short order she is thrown out of a boarding house,
finds a job at textile factory that pays barely enough to eat, and
is badly treated by two men. Grieving over the loss of her dreams,
Juana vows to trust only herself for survival is this stirring
story of the redeeming power of love.
Olga Merino has lived in London and Moscow, where she worked as a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Periodico de Cataluna. In 2006 she won the literary prize NH Mario Vargas Llosa to the best single short-story for the tale Las normas son las normas (Rules are Rules), which recreates an impossible love story between a British soldier, disabled during the Crimean War, and a Welsh nurse, based upon the historic personality of Betsy Cadwaladyr.