Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
Artist Zoe makes a long overdue visit to her friend Camille in France, and impulsively decides to hike the Camino de Santiago from central France to the Spanish border. Her budget is small and she is hiking because of a recent death in her family. Martin, a British engineer working in France, decides to test his design for a one-wheeled cart by hiking with it from Cluny to Santiago. Better equipped and organized, Martin often stays in inns and enjoys gourmet meals while Zoe’s budget barely covers hostel dormitories. However, the trail keeps bringing the unlikely pair together, especially when they are both dealing with upsetting news from home. The scenery is dramatic, the other hikers a quirky bunch, and the dialogue is witty and funny. I enjoyed this charming romantic comedy inspired by a three-month hike of the Camino in 2011 by Rosie Project author Graeme Simsion and his wife, writer Anne Buist. Film rights have been sold.
Prisoner of Heaven, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves)
This is the third in a cycle of novels that began with The Shadow of the Wind and The Angels Game. I would recommend that you read the first two books before reading this one.
This novel is set like the others in Barcelona, Spain. The main character is Daniel Sempere, who, together with his father runs Sempere and Sons Bookshop. There is also another fascinating place, “The Cemetery of Lost Books” a huge library of old forgotten books protected by an elite of old bookkeepers. According to tradition initiates are allowed to select one book from the collection and must protect it for life.
The saga starts with The Shadow of the Wind and then is continued in The Angels Game which is actually a prequel. There are a lot of doings and plots and run ins with the Fascist authorities under General Francisco Franco.
Prisoner of Heaven recounts the imprisonment of Fermin Romero de Torres in a notorious political prison run by the Franco regime during the Spanish Civil War. Fermin is a character in the first two books, but not the main character. He is something of a rogue, a bon-vivant, and protector of Daniel. He escapes from the wretched prison using a technique gleaned from The Count of Monte Cristo.
There is romance, intrigue and shadowy forces in these books. I highly recommend them.