INNOCENT DESIRE begins with a timid fourteen year old girl on her way, not to school, but to her first job . . . as apprentice to a butcher in the wholesale meat markets of Barcelona. As Alicia struggles in the brutal world of the butcher shop, she dreams of the friends she's left behind, particularly Margarite, the snobbish but seductive daughter of a military officer. Alicia is also becoming aware of the urgent battle for freedom from Franco's repression, a fight that moves from street to street and carries her older sister Laura along with it.
It is Laura who opens Alicia's eyes to the fact that there is something she can do and who helps her escape to gymnastics school in the countryside, even though it is run by Fascist women. There Alicia begins to appreciate the power inherent in being true to herself.
Back in Barcelona, Alicia finds work in a convent school, a job full of comic misadventures with students barely younger than she. Alicia also fumbles into a life of secret political meetings and bloody protest, where she is protected by a grimly handsome revolutionary named Alfonso. The danger escalates as Alicia crosses the border into France on a mission for the revolutionaries, finally joining them at a hidden summit in the mountains. Then, her world is shaken by the news of Franco's death, which silences the entire city, including Alicia's irreverent father and her soccer-mad little brother. An era has ended. Another begins.
Through it all, there is the leitmotif of Alicia's troubled yearning for Margarite. Alicia is finally fearless in following her own path—in love as much as politics. INNOCENT DESIRE ends as Alicia walks along Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas hand in hand with Lola, the self-possessed young woman she has learned to love. INNOCENT DESIRE is history both large and small, exotic yet familiar, told in a voice at once lyrical, funny and profoundly honest.
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