Hands Stained with Flour is an unpublished historical literary novel set at the end of the Spanish civil war. It draws on magical realism to convey the dignity and resilience of women held captive in a convent in the imaginary town of Villayerma.
Mother Superior resents the presence of the prisoners and their grimy children in her convent. She misses the days when it was a school with young girls skipping on the patio.
Most of the women are illiterate and apolitical, with no blood on their hands. When Mother Superior announces children over the age of three will be sent to orphanages in Madrid, Isabel and Adela devise a plan.
The women sit on the patio chanting and clapping in praise of the visiting priest. Then they ask him if his parishioners will foster their children in the local town. Furious, Mother Superior is persuaded to agree; it may encourage the government to return her convent. A journalist covers the story, but reports that only twenty-five children are selected.
What will happen to everyone else?