I liked reading this book, but I sat down to love it, so I was disappointed. I liked the prose, although sometimes it was overdone (I'm looking at you, Fermin), and the plot was engrossing.For a romantic novel, it does a terrible job of selling the love stories. Most of the lifelong tragic loves seem to begin with the boy catching a glimpse of the girl, and boom!, he is in deep, burning, self-sacrificing, eternal love with her. The women (well, girls really, which is much of the problem) in the novel are all (ALL!) quietly-suffering victims, and not one of them was interesting to me. I perked up a bit when Bea came on the scene, but then she got locked up and was unable to say anything interesting. Maybe I'm too emotionally distant to jump that gap and take it for granted that these men just "are" in love, but the book fell flat on that note for me.This book is set in Spain in the 1940s, and maybe at that time men fell in love with women for their irresistible beauty, purity, and vulnerability, and not for their personality or ability to carry on a conversation. But even if that's true, I would rather read about the one couple in a thousand whose life-altering love is based on more than one smoldering glance.