Delighted to share my review today as part of the blog tour for Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop. I have to confess that this is my first book by this author, but it most certainly won’t be the last. Here are the stops on the blog tour if anyone should want to go back and see what everyone else thought of the book too.
About the book
The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.
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.
What did I think?
This book totally stunned me. It taught me things about a time in history that I knew nothing about, it made me wish that I could write with the depth and emotion that Victoria Hislop writes and it made me realise just how blooming lucky we are in the world we live today.
It was a huge read. An epic tale of the history of Greece throughout the years and is a massively powerful and gripping read.
Starting in the nearly current time where an elderly Themis, celebrating her birthday, tells her grandchildren about the life she lived. An what an emotional life it was. I could NEVER imagine having to live through times like those, where you can’t feed your family and you are scared to go out of your own front door. Where political views and family secrets divide families, neighbours and towns. Where cruelty is aimed at people who had different beliefs, where friendships weren’t allowed due to religion, where life just wasn’t fair.
This was a really emotional read which compelled you to turn the pages even though it was quite traumatic and difficult to read in parts.
What a story teller Victoria Hislop is. To be able to tell a tale such as this as well as teach the reader so very much about the world and it’s history is amazing. Quite incredible.
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.