Monday, September 20, 2010

{book review}: The Island

I have seriously, SERIOUSLY slacked on Book Review #5.  I finished the book and have read another book and a half but I guess you just never grow out of procrastinating on a book report! 

If you're new to our blog, these are incredibly informal, undeducated reviews - I am only reporting my personal opinion as a leisurely reader.  You've missed:

1. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
4. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

which brings us to:

5. The Island
by Victoria Hislop

The synopsis:
(copied directly from the book jacket)
The Petrakis family lives in the small Greek seaside village of Plaka.  Just off the coast is the tiny island of Spinalonga, where the nation's leper colony once was located - a place that has haunted four generations of Petrakis women.  There's Eleni, ripped from her husband and two young daughters and sent to Spinalonga in 1939, and her daughters Maria, finding joy in the everyday as she dutifully cares for her father, and Anna, a wild child hungry for passion and a life anywhere but Plaka.  And finally there's Alexis, Eleni's great-granddaughter, visiting modern-day Greece to unlock her family's past. 

A richly enchanting novel of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Mediterranean during World War II, The Island is an enthralling story of dreams and desires, of secrets desperately hidden, and of leprosy's touch on an unforgettable family.

My Review:
Oh wow, oh wow, I really loved this book.  All I knew of leprosy before reading this book is what I've read in the Bible, and that people were outcasts and eventually died from it.  Because it's not a widespread, incurable desease today (although still around in third-world countries), I have never given much thought to it.

This book begins with Alexis visiting Greece and her journey to uncover her family's past that her mother has always been so secretive about, other than one photograph by her bed.
Quickly, you are taken back in time to 1939 when Eleni is diagnosed with leprosy and sent to the island of Spinalonga - basically to die.

What she didn't expect, was to find the island wasn't as bad as she had feared.

This novel is a rollercoaster of emotions as you follow the Petrakis family members and how leprosy continues to shape their lives.  Repeatedly, I found bliss, then tragedy, then hope, then heartbreak - over and over again.

This book may not be for everyone, but I loved the characters and the story.
Highly recommend.

~ the brunette

P.S. The next book review will be Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman (I'll just go ahead and tell you I love this book - I just finished reading it for my 2nd time), followed by Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, which I just started!  If you have any requests, send them my way!  :o)

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