A strapping historical by a British writer, set amid the bloody confusion of the Spanish Civil War and featuring a nicely varied, unclichâ€šd roster of characters. Dolorez Carrasquez, daughter of ""the most hated landowner in the entire province of Badajoz,"" heads up the cast. Sent to London to live with her English cousins (largely because she's formed an unacceptable liaison with a cadet, Lorenzo Montanis), Dolly gets herself pregnant by a cynical journalist, Jack Austin, before eloping with Lorenzo and heading back to Spain. Then, while tending her dying mama at the Carrasquez estate, she finds herself caught in Fascist-Republican crossfire, even as her husband loses his life defending the Toledo garricon. Dolly is left to make her way to Madrid with her son, Andres, and a bearlike peasant named Tomas--who conceals the fact that Jack has come looking for her. In the capital she marries Tomas and nurses her syphilitic elder brother, just blocks away from the hotel where Jack is writing a novel. Her English cousin Edmund is there as well, working in a hospital. Eventually, of course, all the lost souls are reunited (including another Carrasquez brother and Dolly's orphaned nephew, Rafael), though it will take a quiet act of self-sacrifice on Tomas' part before Dolly agrees to leave Spain with Jack--the man she truly loves. First-novelist de Luca is too busy managing her restless plot to clarify revolutionary Spain's political tangles, but her people are an interesting lot, served up warts and all and still sympathetic. Not a Spanish Gone With the Wind, but close enough for paella.