Publisher: Joan Fallon (23 September 2023)
Language: English
ISBN: 978-84-09-52121-0

The Winds of Change is a love story set in Spain just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, involving three families from very different backgrounds. The country is in political turmoil, with strikes and demonstrations. Unemployment is high and people are starving. 

Ramon, a member of the Republican Left, has accidentally killed a policeman and is on the run from the Guardia Civil. He decides to hide in the hunting estate of Doñana where he meets and falls in love with Clementina, the beautiful daughter of a well-known gypsy horse trader. 

One day, Hugo, the son of the wealthy owner of a local sherry bodega, Butler & Rodriguez, comes to Doñana to buy a horse. While he is there Hugo catches a glimpse of Clementina and becomes smitten by her beauty, but when he tries to see her again, he finds that both his parents and hers do everything they can to stop him.

Meanwhile Ramon’s brother, Pedro, is arrested and imprisoned because he will not reveal his brother’s whereabouts to the Guardia Civil. When Ramon hears this he knows he must do everything he can to save him. He has to choose between his brother and the woman he loves.

This historical novel is a story of love, politics, class prejudice, intrigue and betrayal in the year leading up to the Spanish Civil War.

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You only have to look into his steely grey eyes to see the hardness of his heart, a heart without pity, without compassion, without understanding. All Felipe understands is money. Don Luis’s elder son measures everything in pesetas and weighs its worth in gold. His employees hate and fear him, not surprisingly as he has the power of life and death over them; one word from him and they and their families would starve and he would think no more of his actions than if he had stepped on a cockroach. Their lives mean nothing to him; there are always others queuing for work, eager and willing to take their place. The men arrive each and every morning begging for a few hours labour. If they are lucky they get to work from dawn until sunset. If not they trudge home to explain to their waif-like wives and hungry children that there is no work today and therefore no food.

These are the thoughts that run through Pedro’s mind as he stands shivering in the cold light of a pale dawn. He has been waiting along with the rest of the men who hope to be employed today on the Butler & Rodriguez estate; they are all braceros, the landless labourers who are the most wretched of all Spain. For half the year they are employed and can feed their families; for the rest of the year they have to make do on what they can scavenge, and Felipe does not care. He does not care if their children starve, nor if they are sick and have no money for a doctor. He does not care if they have to eat scraps that they have found in the bins of others, or grub in the ground for roots as though they were animals. He does not care if the water they drink is foul and contaminated, nor if the women have to walk two kilometres to collect it from a well that is also used to water the vines. This is the most economical way for the owners of the vineyard to employ the men so why should they pay them for being idle half the year, he argues. It does not make sense, he says. The families have roofs over their heads. What more do they want? he asks.

As he contemplates his life, Pedro feels more and more depressed. There is no escape. It does not matter what Ramon says. All that fighting-talk will come to nothing, just more hardship and more violence; the children will still be hungry and his beautiful wife will still looks ten years older than she is.

At last the foreman drives up in the lorry. Immediately the air is charged with expectation and hope; the men shuffle forward hoping that today they will be lucky.

‘I only need twenty of you for the pruning,’ Enrique says, jumping down from the lorry and opening the tailgate. ‘You, you and you.’ One by one he points to those he wants and they climb up onto the back of the lorry.

Pedro holds his breath. ‘Me, choose me,’ are the words repeating themselves in his head. ‘Please choose me.’

Ms Fallon has the talented ability to bring her fictional characters to life; you are there with them, discretely observing what they do and say – wishing you could join in with their conversations, and become an integrated part of this vigorous story.
Helen Hollick author

Joan Fallon brings us a revealing portrayal of life in pre-civil war Spain. This is an evocative tale of the hardships endured by the very poorest and the injustices they suffered at the hands of those in positions of power and influence.” Susan Carew author


Since writing the novel Spanish Lavender 12 years ago, I have often wondered about what life in Spain was like before the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936. And when I began to read the history of that time I realised that it would make an interesting background for my next novel.


You can now find audiobook versions of some of Joan’s novels.
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