America Jane Harvey, a tall Texan, is being detained by Spanish authorities, with plenty of time to contemplate the last 12 years of her life—“From castles in Spain to a Spanish prison.” The novel then examines the choices that led her there. After her young child died in 1971, America escaped into her work as a professional jet pilot. She built up a courier service into a thriving business and, in Spain to attend her best friend’s wedding, met Alfonso, the Duke of the Castle of Tarifa. A respected banker with a wife and eight children, Alfonso explained that his was a marriage of convenience, and he and America began a passionate affair. The Boyars (co-authors Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr., 2012, etc.) describe Alfonso’s background, his trauma suffered in the Spanish Civil War and the development of the couple’s affair against the backdrop of developments in post-Franco Spain, including some legal shenanigans having to do with moving cash out of the country. The sympathies here tend to be reactionary: “[T]here was no drug problem in Spain because of a mandatory throw-away-the-key seven years in prison for anyone caught entering the country with even one marijuana cigarette,” the Boyars note rather approvingly. They also discuss Spanish court protocol with respect: Spanish society members “were all Grandees, almost two hundred of them, Dukes and Duchesses because Dukedoms automatically carried grandeza, plus various Barons, Counts and Marquis whose titles had been given grandeza by the King who had bestowed them. The table seating was always according to Court Protocol, the importance and age of a title being the arbiter.” For some readers, the obsession with status, money and power will be tiresome, while others will enjoy the wish-fulfillment aspects of America’s and Alfonso’s lifestyles in the 1 percent.
A tale of surviving and prospering amid the hardships of fortune.