9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2013
Having read and enjoyed the first in the Greek Village series I had high hopes for the second book, but I didn't expect to be completely blown away by it.
This is a wonderful and utterly believable story which captures the feel of Greece perfectly. The character development of Marina from a big fat interferring Greek Mama who drives her poor daughters away, into a wonderful lady who you just want to hug is brilliant. I cant wait to read the next book in the series.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2013
I enjoyed the Illegal Gardener so much I quickly ordered the second book in the series - I am so glad I did. I could not put it down, the descriptions of the island, village and characters was brilliant. The twist regarding Eleni's love life was a surprise as it was to her mother Marina, however I felt that the end was a bit rushed and it would have been nice to have learnt how and why Marina's son was taken in by his adopted parents.
A story about Meli would be interesting - what happened to him after his meeting with Marina!!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
I picked up Black Butterflies not too concerned that it was the second in the series; it did not seem to follow on and could be read separately. However so, after about halfway I was hooked on its beautifully descriptive narrative of the Greek islands and the colourful characters that reside there. So descriptive it was that, (especially during an English spring that refuses to spring into action) you could almost imagine basking in the sunshine and taste the Tzatziki on my tongue!
Although the plot is quite simple, a quest to find her daughters love, it twists and turns in the all the right places and driven by the detailed description of the characters makes it a very interesting and entertaining read, now I have to backtrack and read the first in the series too!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2013
I found this book very enjoyable and the brilliant descriptive nature of the scenery and characters involved led me through an enchanting story set in an idyllic Greek village. The main character in this book is Marina who runs the village shop and her journey to resolve the mystery of her daughter's boyfriend whom her daughter refuses to reveal to her. This is a tale of love, joy and friendship and the unravelling of a jigsaw which brings the title 'black butteflies' to a heartrending conclusion.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2013
It's always fun to take a trip to another part of the world and get to know its people from the inside. From the moment this story begins, we are transported to the islands of Greece and meet the people there. It is a slice of life you cannot get without buying a ticket, but this author tranports you there down to the whitewashed houses and little cafes on the beach with loving detail. Against this backdrop, we get to know a lonely, troubled woman and her children. I will not play spoiler here, but the pains of this lady's life, have deep roots and there is more to her than just a meddling mother. She has her reasons. In the course of her experience we feel her heartache and her joy and all on a little island steeped in personal history. Along the way she finds more than just answers, she also discovers that life is both the joy and pain of living. A sensitive, often touching tale with enjoyable characters and a few surprises. In spite of a somewhat slow start, I liked it. If you can't afford a trip to Greece, this is a pretty good alternative.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2015
Well, Sara has done it again. This is a superb little book, and a great easy flowing read. Without giving too much away (I hate reviews to be spoilers) this story has a double twist, the first one jumps out and takes you by surprise, but unless that first twist happened the second and final one couldn't. Make what you will out of that dear reader! The plot is one of elimination, much along similar lines as Julian Fellowes' "Past Imperfect." And as regards Bobby, he reminds me of Smallweed the moneylender from Charles Dickens' Bleak House... "Shake me up Judy!".. Great stuff. Sara creates good characterisation.
I also find it interesting that Sara writes in the present tense, when most novels are in the past tense. With some of the relationships that occur I wonder what the Greek Orthodox Church would make of it all?
As I have said before, this isn't normally my genre, but she has kept me gripped and I'll be reading book three in the series next. What a five star girl!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2014
'Black Butterflies' is a gentle delight. The novel is infused with the sights, sounds and smells of the Greek islands, and Ms. Alexi transported me to the locations effortlessly. The detail in the writing immerses the reader in the Mediterranean culture: the atmosphere is artfully constructed.
One of the aspects of the book I most liked was that the author took her time with the narrative, mimicking the daily rhythms of Greek island life itself.
The tale is a straightforward one - the widowed Marina sets out to prevent her daughter Eleni from making a bad match - but the book is full of charm, acute observation and genuine emotion.
I already have the next two books in the 'Greek Village' collection on my Kindle.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2013
Black Butterflies is closer to my kind of beach read than The Illegal Gardener, which I loved. They are different animals. The former, a sensitive look int the heart of a large problem: leaving your country to survive, and the latter, a suspenceful summer read full of Grek sunshine. It passes the time, treats you to a now familiar setting and gives you some page turning suspence. I especially liked the opening with the rug salesman. I did miss the warm, deep sensitivity of the relationship between the main character and the house boy in The Illegal Gardener, but really liked this book. Take it on holiday to the sun this winter.
on 5 March 2014
After reading 'The illegal Gardener' and also 'In the Shade of the Monkey Puzzle Tree' I was keen to read more by this author. I thought it might be difficult to top 'The Illegal Gardener' the first book in the series but how wrong I was. This book was absolutely superb and a really pleasant surprise!
The story is about the widow Marina, who runs a village shop (she is a side character in Book 1) and has a very difficult relationship with her two daughters , Eleni and Artemis. Eleni has decided to move to a neighbouring island to work in the Port Police and to be close to someone she is having a relationship with. When Marina discovers which island she will be working on, she begins a plan to find out who Eleni's boyfriend is by visiting the island, coming up with some potential candidates based on age and then visiting and ticking each one off as she discovers the likelihood of them being in a relationship with her daughter or otherwise. As the community on the island is a close knit one she has to hide so she is not seen by her daughter while undertaking this task and she has a few close calls although at one point she is discovered. The island itself is one Marina hasn't visited since her youth and which carries a dark secret that she has hidden since then and has caused her years of internal grief.
Both Eleni and Marina both carry secrets which is the main reason for their difficult relationship. Initially Marina comes across as an interfering busybody, but as the story progresses you realize this is not the case at all but is as a result of the tragic circumstances surrounding her youth and her fear of who Eleni may be involved with. From this point on you really start feeling alot of sympathy for her. There are some amazing characters in this book, all unforgettable and memorable, all in the neighbouring island from where Marina tries to uncover her daughter's secret.
Secrets from both sides are uncovered, when we discover what Eleni's secret is I couldn't help but smile and Marina's reaction to it. I was pleasantly surprised When Juliet (from book 1 - The Illegal Gardener) appears to make sense of it all to Marina. It was a lovely scene where it is all put into persective and it appears that Marina is the only one from her village who didn't know of this secret!
As for Marina's secret , for some reason it left me saddened that she was forced into a situation in her youth which practically ruined her life and left her deeply unhappy to the point it affects her relationship with her daughters. I found the bench scene between a mother and her son the most moving part of the book (I think I was close to having a tear in my eye) and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by it. The scene between Eleni and Marina as they reveal their secrets to each other is also another dramatic moment where you could feel the air literally crackling with tension between them and all those present. I absolutely loved the ending and a wedding that was celebrated in a true Greek Village style , it was all so full of hope and a new beginning. I would liked to have known what happened to 'Meli', whether he was still alive and perhaps this could be a spinoff book ? :)
This is a fantastic book on a par with Illegal Gardener if not better. It appears that the books in this series only get better and better!
I have just downloaded all the remaining books in the series I have yet to read.
on 2 August 2013
Dark deceptions deftly described in the second book in the Greek Village series. Having read the current set of four books out of sequence doesn't affect the pure joy of reading Sara Alexi's wonderful stories. Once again, the author hits the mark with an increased but still gentle paced but emotional and evocative tale of life in small off-the-main-tracks Greek villages. In fact, the scene in this story has shifted to a rather more touristy village on a nearby island, a place Marina has stayed before and where, by coincidence, her daughter has plans to move in with her island-born lover. No-one is able to keep secrets in villages where everyone lives cheek by jowl, you would think. But no, Marina has kept secrets that she has agonised over until they now reach a head. Her eldest daughter Eleni has her secrets, too. These deceptions drive a wedge between mother and daughter. Marina's guilt, she feels, has also driven her youngest daughter to Athens and possibly further. Marina returns to the island for the first time in 35 years to track down her daughter's lover and clear up any misunderstandings but by doing so adds to the confusion and brings deeply-buried emotions to the surface. As with the rest of the stories in this series, the characters, old and new, and the surroundings are beautifully and charmingly observed, with the star of the show, Greece herself, prominent in every scene. I eagerly await the fifth in the series, especially now that I can read them sequentially from now!