Civil war inspires local writer Jenny

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A HECKMONDWIKE author who moved to Spain 10 years ago has written a novel about her adopted country.

Jenny Twist, 62, and her husband Vic, moved to the country without knowing much about its history – but after learning about the Spanish Civil War, she felt compelled to write a short story about it.

That developed into a novel –and now Jenny’s book, Domingo’s Angel, had been published and is available on Amazon.

Jenny, who attended Heckmondwike Grammar School, said: “I am ashamed to say that before I came to live here I knew nothing of Spanish history other than the stuff we were taught at school.

“I was horrified to find out about the dreadful atrocities committed by both sides during the Spanish Civil War and the appalling cruelty perpetrated against the Spanish people under Franco’s fascist dictatorship – which lasted from 1939 until his death in 1975.

“I didn’t actually set out initially to write a novel about it. What happened was I wrote a short story and it grew. But as it grew I realised I had a lot to say.

“The first chapter is essentially the original short story and tells of an English woman who came to Southern Spain in the early 1950s.

“She arrived in a remote mountain village and caused some consternation amongst the inhabitants, who had never met a foreigner before.

“But Domingo, the goat herd, fell in love with her. When she introduced herself, he believed she was saying she was an angel. ‘Soy Angela’ in Spanish can either mean ‘I am Angela’ or ‘I am an angel’.

“In the meantime, I had become more and more intrigued by one of the characters, Rosalba, the shopkeeper, and I found myself writing a sequel and then another.

“Before long it came home to me that what I had here was an embryo novel.

“As I learned more and more about the history of my adopted country, I incorporated it into the novel, introducing past events through the memories of the major characters.

“I relied on what I knew about my own friends – the story of Salva the Baker, for example, who was imprisoned for years for giving bread to the starving children, is true.

“I also transposed some of the real events from the history books to my own imaginary village.

“Some of the events in this story are bloodthirsty and shocking, but there is a lot of love in it too.”