Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Island by Victoria Hislop

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...

This year is the 10th anniversary since The Island was first published and I think I have had my copy on my bookshelf for about 8 years! I always meant to pick it up and read it, but it wasn't until my good friend Julie, who has read all of Victoria's books, said that I HAD to read it! So when I went to Turkey in August I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give it a go!

The books starts with Alexis Fielding who decides to go on holiday to Crete (where her mother Sophia comes from), and even though she has never mentioned her childhood or relatives, she gives Alexis a letter to give to an old friend.

When Alexis finds Fotini she hands her the letter and she then starts telling Alexis the story of her ancestors, in particular her Great-Grandmother Eleni who was the first in her family to be sent to Spinalonga, which is an island just off of Crete, where lepers were sent as soon as they were diagnosed with Lepresy to live the rest of their lives.

This is an absolutely beautiful read, the author describes not only the Greek people in great detail, but the places, food, customs etc and I could not put this book down, hence I finished it in a couple of days! 

Although this book is sad, the author doesn't always dwell on this, but writes about how the people who live on Spinalonga just got on with their everyday lives whilst still living with leprosy. Saying that, I did cry like a baby several times!

I have already borrowed this book out, but I can honestly say, I would read it again and again. It is one of my top 10 books of all time and I cannot wait to read more from Victoria Hislop! I can only apologise to the author for having left it so long to read it in the first place!

* * * * * 

No comments:

Post a Comment