Set in contemporary Spain, Susana Aikin's latest novel is a colorful, beautifully written examination of memory, romance, and the intricacies of family duty.
On a sweltering August day in Madrid, Anna, Julia, and Marion return to their childhood home. The once grand mansion, furnished with exotic objects and art that reflected the cultures of their English father and Spanish mother, once bustled with visitors. But since their father's death, all three sisters have been reluctant to go back, still feeling the weight of his domineering influence. Julia believes that before the house can sell, it needs to be cleared of negative energy, and she has planned a limpieza, or cleaning ritual. Marion, the oldest, fears what the ceremony might unleash. Anna, the youngest and most capable and ambitious of the trio, is skeptical of the Cuban santeria hired by Julia. Still, she is wary of antagonizing her siblings or of stirring up old resentment. But as the ceremony progresses, guilt and recrimination become impossible to ignore. And if there's a chance of bringing their house and their lives out of the shadows, it rests in the sisterhood, strength, and indomitable love that remains when the ghosts of the past surrender at last.