Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Island - Victoria Hislop

This was a lovely story of family relationships in trying times.  One of my book groups read this last year and I finally read it myself.  It's the story of a Greek family living in Crete in the 1930's.  The mother, Eleni, is separated from her two daughters and husband when she is banished to an island for lepers.  The story is told by her daughter's best friend to Eleni's great-granddaughter, Alexis.  Alexis is seeking to know of her mother's past and family to help her in understanding her own relationship.

The leper colony is a factual place, Spinalonga, now known as Kalydon.  The Venetian fortress described in the book still stands and the island is a tourist attraction.

I enjoyed the portrayal of Greek life and traditions.  The family relationships between father and daughters, sisters and parents were touching.  I think the book bogged down a bit in the middle when describing life on the island. I would have liked a little more about Alexis's relationship.  The ending seemed rushed to wrap up all the story lines.  I suspect the author was able to write off some nice vacation time in Crete as a business expense!

Published:  2005  Read: February 2013  Genre: Fiction

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