All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother's secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in.
Angie's estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms - it's time to unburden herself, and tell the story she'll otherwise take to her grave.
It's the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it's the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.
Often when I see a book that promises to be great for fans of much loved authors of mine, my heart does an excited little lurch but typically when I pick up the book I am more often than not left disappointed and confused by the lack of any connection to the authors storytelling or writing style. When Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson came onto my radar I loved the look of the cover and the sound of the synopsis, I then saw on the cover the sticker advertising " Great for fans of Victoria Hislop". Now I am a huge fan of Victoria Hislop and I have never found another author that I would comfortably say fans of hers would like so I was a little apprehensive but I was eager to see what this book had to offer.
Angie has always been kept in the dark about her mums family but she is now desperate to get to the bottom of why her mum left her family and the little village in Crete where she grew up and in a hope to bring all the family together again for her upcoming wedding she decides to travel to Amiras to meet her family and get some answers but is she really ready to discover the truth?
This book just blew me away and it is worthy of the big statement on that little sticker! I was so captivated by this storyline and I found myself flying through the pages eager to see what revealed next but in the same breathe wanting to savour each chapter as I really didn't want this book to end.
There is so much to love about this book from the stunning traditional setting of the little Villages in Crete which were described so eloquently, the tight knit families who hold such strong traditional family values but right at the heart of it all is the courageous story of such a remarkable woman Maria who is Angie's grandma. Her story tore my heart in two, she was a character who had seen and experienced way to much in life and her desperation as a mother to protect her children and the devastation she was dealing with at the same time was just unthinkable. As Maria was telling Angie her story she told it over a number of days as it was emotionally draining but I was eager to return to her story.
I am ashamed to say that I was ignorant to the atrocious war crimes committed during the occupation of Crete by the German forces in WW2 but after reading this harrowing account it really has encouraged me to find out more.
There are a lot of focused characters in this book but they all molded around each other really well and they were easy to work out who was who without confusion. There is everything from love to family feuds and secrets to the devastation and loss. The plot is unpredictable from start to finish so I was engrossed and hanging on each and every word. This book will leave a lasting impression on me and will be one that I will find myself recommending to everyone I meet. SO YES fans of Victoria Hislop you will love this book! This will easily be in my top 5 reads at the end of the year.