SmallStations - Marina Mayoral

During the Spanish Civil War, two sisters, Harmony and Rose, are sent to Russia by their parents for their own safety. Their father is a soldier in the Republican army, their mother a nurse in a field hospital. The children board the French cargo ship that is to take them on the fifteen-day journey to Leningrad, or St Petersburg as it is also known, but unfortunately their mother is unable to arrive in time to see them off. In Russia, they are treated well, looked after by the woman in charge of the children’s home, María do Mar, and attend school. They are given a task to write a letter to their nearest relatives, and all Harmony can do is apologize for leaving without saying goodbye to their mother, hoping she isn’t angry. Rose contributes a drawing of a red hen surrounded by chicks. As the years pass, the children develop a close friendship with another refugee child, Leo, the only one who boarded the ship without bursting into tears. The war in Spain reaches its conclusion only to be replaced by the Second World War, which marks the events in this story irrevocably. This is a charming story, full of humour and tenderness, in which parents struggle to do the right thing, children grow up ahead of time and dreams become reality for those who remain persistent.