Sunday, 23 February 2014

bookworm #23

The Island by Victoria Hislop

This is the second novel by Victoria Hislop that I've read - I loved The Thread (see my bookworm post here) which told the story of the Nazi occupation of Greek island Thessaloniki. The Island is of a similar tone to The Thread - this time focusing on the Greek island of Spinalonga. 

Spinlonga is an island just off Crete, and today is known as Kalydon. The novel, however, tells  the story of Spinalonga in the 1940s and 50s when it was a leper colony - in fact, Spinalonga was one of the last leper colonies in Europe, which is told in this novel. It was where lepers would go to live out their days in isolation, so as to prevent the spread of the disease. Although now we know leprosy not to be highly contagious, it was often a hugely stigmatising condition which allowed many to separate lepers from the mainstream population, for fear of contamination and spreading a disease there was no treatment for until the late 1940s.

Anyway, The Island tells the story of Alexis who is (in the modern-day) venturing to Greece to discover her mother's past. Alexis meets a friend of her mother, Fotini, who tells her all about her ancestors and how she herself is linked to Spinalonga. Just like with The Thread, Hislop is seamless in weaving together the past with the present to tell a story that will get you hooked from the off. Even the descriptions of Greek islands make you feel warm and relaxed! It's a great beach book, but also a great one to read in these miserable months to warm your heart. 

Have you read The Island? What did you think?


  1. This is one of my favourite books I've ever read! Victoria Hislop is so talented. I read it whilst on holiday in Germany last summer, and I remember feeling so lost when I finished. The characters seem so alive, and I remember feeling so sad when Eleni died and happy when the baby was born, and I loved how it ended not particularly on a high or low. We must have very similar taste in books so I'll keep checking for more reviews!
    Lily x

  2. This is my favourite book ever! I read it before going on holiday to Greece and I actually got to visit the island of Spinalonga which was amazing!

    Jess // Jess Who?

  3. I read this in the summer and absolutely loved it! It's not the usual thing I go for but my Mum brought it on holiday with us and I was intrigued by the little bits she let slip when she was reading it. The Thread is next on my "to read..." list!
    Sophie x

  4. This is such a fantastic book, I keep buying and re-buying it and thrusting it at people to read too. Not a single one has come back with anything bad to say!
    M x Life Outside London

  5. This book sounds like it's just my cup of tea, I think I shall take note for my holiday! xo

    Hannah | Glitter and Sparkle


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