A Prison In The Sun by Isobel Blackthorn A Canary Island's Mystery book three ★★★☆☆
Published :19th November 2019
Publisher : Magnum Opus Press
Format : Kindle, Paperback
Genre : Historical Fiction
After millennial ghostwriter Trevor Moore rents an old farmhouse in Fuerteventura, he moves in to find his muse.
Instead, he discovers a rucksack filled with cash. Who does it belong to - and should he hand it in... or keep it?
Struggling to make up his mind, Trevor unravels the harrowing true story of a little-known concentration camp that incarcerated gay men in the 1950s and 60s.
Set over three parts this story is told from the perspective of Trevor, a ghost writer who is tired of finishing up books for authors who go on to have great success with his words that have been added to the stories to make them greater.
Having divorced from his wife, who now is married to another woman and his children have grown up and moved away, Trevor is encouraged by his best friend to take a break and move to Spain in a quiet villa in Fuerteventura to find himself again and to write his own novel for once instead of complaining about writing others and never his own.
Having settled in to the farmhouse Trevor goes to sight see around his town and comes across an abandoned prison, piquing his interest a little he decides to look into this later once he has signed up to a gym and started to take control of this new start and new him.
Whilst in the gym Trevor meets a trainer called Luis, being a heterosexual man Trevor is surprised to find himself getting distracted by the trainers body and puts it down to having being single for so long. Luis tells Trevor in conversation that the abandoned prison was actually a concentration camp under General Francos reign, if men were found to be gay they were arrested and sent to work there in appalling conditions for a maximum of five years.
Not really wanting to write a story that is steeped in controversial Spanish history Trevor is reluctant to write it, but a day at the beach Trevor comes across a backpack left abandoned in a cave, after asking all the locals if it is theirs and coming up short he takes it home and investigates further.
Inside he finds fifty-thousand euros and wrapped up amongst the money is sheets of paper wrote in Spanish, intrigued Trevor translates these onto his computer and before long he realises he has a personal account of what it was like inside the concentration camp, a story of survival, suffering and love.
Trevor discovers They suffered stinking, crowded cells, hard labour and brutal beatings from the guards for the slightest thing, or nothing at all.
Revolting slop for food and dirty brackish water from a local well was all they had to drink and a bucket next to the water one for their toilet waste.
Its at this point Trevor decides this is a story worth telling, but there is trouble attached to that backpack and before long he finds himself hiding from the locals, taking steroids and questioning his own sexuality.
I struggled with part one, for me it was a little long in length about the main character and his daily coming and goings but I really enjoyed this book once it started to really get into part two which is the prisoners story of life in that awful place, although at one point I did have to put it down and skip a passage as I could not read about what the awful guards did to a poor farm dog that had been accused wrongly of killing the chickens. For me I struggled with that and skipped that section but as for the rest of part two I was fascinated and appalled at what the poor men had to endure purely for there sexual preference.
I found this a harrowing but interesting read, I hate any kind of racism and found myself really caught up in the sadness which these poor men suffered, but also loved how it ended, I was left guessing as to Trevors fate, who doesn't love a cliff hanger..
If you enjoy reading unique, engaging fiction then this is the book for you.
Meet the author...
Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes dark psychological thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary and literary fiction. On the dark side are Twerk, The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks. Her Canary Islands’ collection begins with The Drago Tree and includes A Matter of Latitude and Clarissa’s Warning.
Her interest in the occult is explored in The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey and the dark mystery A Perfect Square. Even her first novel, Asylum, contains a touch of the magical. Isobel is at work on her fourth Canary Islands’ novel, a sweeping historical work based on her own family history.
Her short story, ‘Lacquer’, appears in the esteemed A Time for Violence anthology. Isobel is currently at work on a full non fiction biography of Alice A. Bailey.
Isobel was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019, for her biographical short story, ‘Nothing to Declare’. The Legacy of Old Gran Parks is the winner of the Raven Awards 2019.
Isobel writes non fiction too. Her writing appears in journals and websites around the world, including New Dawn Magazine, Paranoia, Mused Literary Review, Backhand Stories, Fictive Dream and On Line Opinion.
Isobel’s interests are many and varied. A humanitarian and campaigner for social justice, in 1999 Isobel founded the internationally acclaimed Ghana Link, uniting two high schools, one a relatively privileged state school located in the heart of England, the other a materially impoverished school in a remote part of the Upper Volta region of Ghana, West Africa.
Isobel has a background in Western Esotericism and she’s a qualified Astrologer. She holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her ground-breaking research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’ After working as a teacher, market trader, and PA to a literary agent, she arrived at writing in her forties, and her stories are as diverse and intriguing as her life has been.
Isobel performs her literary works at events in a range of settings, gives workshops in creative writing, and writes book reviews. Her reviews have appeared in Shiny New Books, Sisters in Crime, Australian Women Writers, Trip Fiction and Newtown Review of Books. She talks regularly about books and writing on radio, in Australia, and on occasion in the UK and USA and Canary Islands.
British by birth, Isobel entered this world in Farnborough, Kent, as Yvonne Margaret Grimble. She has since been Yvonne Rodgers, before changing her name completely in 1996 to Isobel Schofield. After a number of years as Isobel Wightman, she is now very happily and permanently Isobel Blackthorn. Isobel has lived in England, Australia, Spain and the Canary Islands. She now lives on Australia’s southern coast with her cat, Psyche.
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