Author: Victoria Hislop
Genre: General Fiction
Format: Hardcover 496 pages
Release Date: 30 May 2019
I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.
In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.
Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.
As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.
This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.
I have read a lot of books set in the 1940’s but none from the point of view of someone living in Greece. Reading Themis’s story of her life and how she grew up in Greece during this difficult time really opened up my eyes to another aspect of this time period.
This is a very descriptive read following one characters life through from early childhood, right the way through to old age. Themis has lived an interesting life to say the least and I throughly enjoyed reading along with Themis as she recounts her life story. She has such a colourful past and there are some really interesting characters she meets along the way.
Themis is such a strong character with such conviction for her beliefs she really is the kind of person I would love to meet in real life and have a conversation with. The author beautifully mixes historical and family drama here and weaves it into one well thought out and written book.
About the Author
Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller and a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. The Island has sold over 1.2million copies in the UK and more than 5 million worldwide.
Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, which inspired her second bestseller The Return, and she returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki in The Thread, shortlisted for a British Book Award and confirming her reputation as an inspirational storyteller. It was followed by her much-admired Greece-set short story collection, The Last Dance and Other Stories. The Sunrise, a Sunday Times Number One bestseller about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, was published to widespread acclaim in 2014. Victoria’s most recent book, Cartes Postales from Greece was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and one of the Top Ten biggest selling paperbacks of 2017. Her novels have sold 10 million copies worldwide.
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