I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop.
Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Headline Review for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Scroll on for a taster of the book and to read my review.
~ Publisher’s Description ~
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.
~ My thoughts ~
Gosh, what have I just read in 481 pages! The life story of Themis, our protagonist from 1930 to 2016, is powerful and captivating.
We first meet Themis at the end of her birthday celebrations in 2016. Two of her grandchildren, Popi and Nikos have stayed behind to help their nonagenarian grandmother to tidy up. They chat about the state of the society and Themis becomes contemplative. She takes her two grandchildren to the nearby cafe and proceeds to tell them about her past. What follows is a walk through the history of Athens and Greece in World War II, the Civil War and the post war period.
I’ll admit it took me a while to get into the story but once I was in it, there was no turning back – similar to Themis at several points in the book. I was living Themis’s life, experiencing her emotions and wondering whether I would have made the same decisions. I came to the conclusion that I probably would have. Themis is a brave and resilient woman whose life mirrors Greece’s turbulent past.
The depth of detail in this book is astonishing. It has been researched within in an inch of its life and the writing is just brilliant.
I remember reading The Island , when it came out 10 years ago and Cartes Postales from Greece in 2016 and being taken on a journey of different periods in Greece’s history. Those Who Are Loved is no different. It is historical fiction at its best and it is simply epic.
~ Where to find Those Who Are Loved ~
~ About Victoria Hislop ~
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.
~ Where to find Victoria Hislop ~
~ Follow the tour ~
Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!