Okay, it’s decided. I’m doing two separate blog posts on this book. This one in English and a second one in German. They are basically the same (content wise). I’m doing this because I need to post an all-German blog post for this reading challenge I’m in which is all about this book I am reviewing: Die Rosen von Montevideo by Carla Federico. 🙂 I won this book at Lovelybooks.
Summary (freely translated – original: Droemer Knaur¹):
Montevideo 1843. Albert Gothmann, a banker’s son from Frankfurt, falls in love with cheerful Rosa, daughter of one of the oldest Spanish families in Uruguay. This love forces Rosa to part with her native land – a fate that her descendants will share with her. Will these women be strong enough to fight for their happiness?
The book Die Rosen von Montevideo is mainly set in 19th century Uruguay and Germany. Carla Federico manages to give good insight into the time the book is set in by describing various historical happenings. I also liked how she depicted the South American landscape. As soon as Ms. Federico starts to write about smaller spacial entities, the descriptions are getting a little more vague.
As Die Rosen von Montevideo is a family saga that spans several generations, there is more than one main character. In the beginning, it was easy to empathize with the first main character Rosa but the farther I read, the harder it got to identify with all those characters. The characters are very similar to one another (some are very stereotypical). This is something that cannot only be explained by the characters being relatives because Albert, Luis and Antonio have very similar character traits but only Luis and Antonio are related. Similar parallels can also be drawn among the female characters in the novel.
Concerning parallels: There were more than enough of them in this novel. What started out as a great stylistic device, soon turned into something that pained me and in the end even bored me. Sometimes, less is more…
It seems to me, that with Die Rosen von Montevideo Ms. Federico tried too much at once. The mix of love story, drama, historical fiction and family saga was too much for me. In my opinion, this book contains ideas that could have filled 3 books. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like the book. I particularly enjoyed the first third and I also liked the historical background information.
My conclusion: A book for readers who are interested in history and who want to follow 3 generations of young women on their long and hard fight for happiness.