CARMELA by Rowland Winn


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If Rowland Winn could have contented himself with his glamorous theme and its yet more glamorous setting, he would have given his readers a bewitching story, richly flavored with what must be an intimate personal love affair with Spain. For here is a modern fairy tale, as his Prince (a bereft rejected suitor who uses his professional standing as a journalist to take him on a roving assignment to Spain) finds in a gypsy maiden, Carmela, his Princess in disguise. That she is only fourteen, and a rarely talented flamenco singer-dancer, sought after by a renowned promoter for his own gain- and perhaps here -- provides the hurdles that he takes as he discovers that he has bought her from her gypsy foster parents, and must smuggle her into England and adopt her to make his aspirations securely legal. Such is the motif of a tale that ends- after numerous mad adventures- in an all lived happily ever after finale. And this, told with a sense of plot, a contagion of emotional factors and immense charm- would be enough. There's an intimate close-up of Spain's glamour: Granada and the storied Alhambra, the Seville fiesta, the gypsy caves- and young Carmela dancing her way to all hearts- all this provides a perfect background for romance. But the romance is compounded by cross sections of other people's lives, two women, both pretty poisonous, and a collection of men, other journalists, industrial tycoons and playboys- and a succession of complex flashbacks, so that one gets many stories tied tenuously into one, rudely jarring- for this reader- the central plot. Then too, there are byways of exploration of Spain's history, past and present. Nonetheless, the magic of the fairy tale reestablishes its claims, and the end result is more than usual enchantment. Particularly for those who have savored Spain's charm, this has sure appeal.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1955
Publisher: Morrow- Sloane