Newest Review: ... to see that the deserted island of Spinalonga, which was once the enforced home to many lepers in Crete is not far out to sea and goes on a... more
Love, leprosy and lies.
The Island - Victoria Hislop
Member Name: jo@145
The Island - Victoria Hislop
Advantages: Interesting book
Disadvantages: May be too lovey for men!
I would imagine that most parents tell their children how things were when they were young. I know I have, but Sophia has never spoken about her childhood. She only admits to have grown up in a small village in Crete before moving to London. Her daughter, Alexis Fielding has decided to go on holiday to Crete with her long term boyfriend, who she feels she doesn't really love and her Mother gives her a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her friend she will learn more about her childhood.
Alexis suddenly tells Ed, that she is going away for the day and leaves him at the hotel and makes the long journey to the small fishing village called Plaka, which was her Mother's home town. Alexis is surprised to see that the deserted island of Spinalonga, which was once the enforced home to many lepers in Crete is not far out to sea and goes on a visit there. Something I am told from a friend that you can actually do now.
After a refreshing drink she asks where she can find Fotini and soon discovers her Mother's old friend, who was expecting her and knows she has along story to tell to Sophia's daughter.
The story unfolds over many days and Alexis doesn't really think to let Ed know that she is staying longer. She discovers all about Eleni, her Great Grandmother and her family, the connection with the Island and about other families. About secrets which were kept for many years and why her Mother kept quiet about her childhood.
I liked the way the story was told starting with the present as Alexis prepares to go on holiday, then most of the story is in the past, and I was really hooked here, and thoroughly enjoyed the details about the lepers on the Island, learning things I knew little about. This was mostly seen through the eyes of Maria who was Sophia's aunt. Then finally it goes back to the present.
I have never been to Crete but I felt I could imagine what it was like, how the simple houses were furnished and what they did in their daily lives. How Maria's fisherman father rowed over to the island each day with food and transporting a Doctor who worked there.
Of course I won't tell you the ending, you'll need to read the book to see if Alexis finds out all about Sophia's childhood and her family secrets which she has never shared and what happens with Ed who was deserted on his holiday.
Victoria Hislop's first novel "The Island" is an international bestseller. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Summer Read, and won Victoria the "Newcomer of the Year" Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
This is a story with secrets, lies, deceit, scandal and of course love! And unusually leprosy. This made it a bit different to the usual love story but I would say it is a book for the ladies, and a good one to take on holiday or read on a long journey. It has 473 pages and can be picked up at reduced prices on Amazon or eBay, although was originally £7.99.
I enjoyed it, I know several others who enjoyed it too, so can recommend this for a good read slightly different to your usual love stories.
Summary: Book set mostly in Crete