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The Island [Kindle Edition]

Victoria Hislop
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,185 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more. Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...The acclaimed million-copy number one bestseller and winner of Richard & Judy's Summer Read 2006 from Victoria Hislop is a dramatic tale of four generations, rent by war, illicit love, violence and leprosy, from the thirties, through the war, to the present day.


On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.



Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...


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Review

'Adding depth and colour to the story is the description of Cretan life... in particular, the vividly detailed account of life on Spinalonga... It is one of the achievements of this thoughtful novel that it presents the lives of the island's inhabitants with such empathy. The result is a fascinating work that combines a moving love story witha plea for more understanding about this most cruel of diseases' ( The Times )

'This is a vivid, moving and absorbing tale, with its senstive, realistic engagement with all the consequences of, and stigma attached to leprosy, elevating it beyond holiday literature.' (Observer)

'Gently gripping tale' (Scotsman on Sunday )

'Brings dignity and tenderness to her novel.' (Telegraph )

Review

'Hislop carefully evokes the lives of Cretans between the wars and during German occupation, but most commendable is her compassionate portrayal of the outcasts' Guardian -- Guardian 20050723 'Hislop is an exceptional writer with a strong voice who completely deserves rich success with this debut... Beautifully balanced, vivid and atmospheric prose' Newbury Weekly News -- Newbury Weekly News 20050811 'War, tragedy and passion unfurl against a Mediterranean backdrop in this engrossing debut novel' You magazine -- You magazine 20050811 'Wonderful descriptions, strong characters and an intimate portrait of island existence' Woman & Home -- Woman & Home 20050811 'Passionately engaged with its subject...the author has meticulously researched her fascinating background and medical facts' The Sunday Times -- The Sunday Times 20050811 'A page-turning tale that reminds us that love and life continue in even the most extraordinary of circumstances' Sunday Express -- Sunday Express 20050811 'Hislop's deep research, imagination and patent love of Crete creates a convincing portrait of times on the island. She writes evocatively of the minutiae of traditional life... She...manages to milk the dramatic potential of each unexpected twist and broken engagement, of the ruined and resurrected lives of her characters... A moving and absorbing holiday read that pulls at the heart strings' Evening Standard -- Evening Standard 20050606 'At last -- a beach book with a heart... Meticulous research into Cretan culture...packed with family sagas, doomed love affairs, devastating secrets... She also forces us to reflect on illness, both the nasty, narrow-mindedness of the healthy and the spirit of survival in the so-called "unclean". Her message seems as relevant today as it would have been a century ago' Observer -- Observer 20050606 'A moving and atmospheric tale' The Scotsman -- The Scotsman 20050606 'A promising debut' Grazia magazine -- Grazia 20050606

Product details


More About the Author

Victoria Hislop is a writer and journalist. Her first novel, The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback chart for eight consecutive weeks and has sold one million copies. Her second novel, The Return, debuted at number one in the Sunday Times paperback chart.
She was named Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007.
Victoria lives in Kent with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
179 of 193 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is certainly a quality book but without being heavy like an old classic. It is well-researched and contains powerful imagery and detailed descriptions of Crete. It makes you want to go and look up the places on the internet so you can see exactly where the novel is set. It is tragic without being upsetting. This novel makes you think about how we treat people today with certain illnesses and explores class, prejudice and discrimination wonderfully. It also makes you consider those who put themselves at risk for the sake of others and humbles the reader.

The story is well structured and I was not able to guess what was going to happen in the end, but the book was so enjoyable throughout that I certainly wasn't hankering to see what would happen at the end. This is one of those books I was sad to finish and will be pushed to find one so good to read next. I will definately be buying the author's next book and would highly recommend this to anyone who likes books that let you escape abroad in your own home but with a bit of substance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching- a must read 8 Nov. 2010
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is one of those books I'd had sat on my shelf forever before finally picking it up- and I'm so glad I finally read it. Initially I had my reservations, and whilst the first couple of chapters were admittedly a bit hard to get into, thankfully I persevered and was rewarded with an intensely moving novel.

A brief summary: Alexis doesn't know a lot about her mother's family. Sofia has never spoken of her childhood growing up in Crete, and when Alexis decides to visit the island, she discovers the haunting family secrets that her mother has kept hidden for so many years. An abandoned island off the village of Plaka is the first clue for Alexis as to her mother's heritage and soon she uncovers a story of illness going back generations, tragedy and romance...

I'd perceived that this book would be a little overly-heavy on the details and too entrenched with historical facts about Crete and Greece to be an enjoyable read, particularly given the subject matter, but fortunately I was wrong. It is clear that the author has done her research but this book never strays into too many niggly unnecessary details, keeping the reader turning the pages.

As someone who has never visited Crete, the depictions of it and of Spinalonga in particular seemed so vivid and rich that I felt I was there alongside the characters. Describing somewhere where people perhaps have misconceptions of already is not easy but I felt that in the case of Spinalonga, Hislop pulled this off aptly.

There are flaws of course- the character development can be a bit dry in places and if I'm honest, I didn't particularly like Alexis, Anna or Sofia very much and reading about them grew a bit irksome. Maria is the real character you want to know and understand in this story.

This may be a fictional read, but to know that Spinalonga is infact real and that what happened there really did, is just heart wrenching. An incredibly moving read and highly recommended.
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59 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic beach read 24 July 2006
By Amy Fox
Format:Paperback
This is a very touching and well written story. Hislop evokes real empathy for her characters' battles with the 'curse' of leprosy. The story details how the shame of the disease touched the lives of all affected family members, as well as the wider community. It is impossible not to feel the wrench of those who were exiled onto the leper colony of Spinalonga.

This is so well researched, that the events of the novel seemed real, without falling into the trap of writing a historical account. The plight of the central characters is so compelling that I couldn't put this book down. Further enhanced by beatiful depictions of it's Cretan setting, this book will encourage tourists to trek to Crete and the infamous Spinalonga. Sit back and enjoy...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read 2 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
OCTOBER BOOK CLUB BOOK
THE ISLAND BY VICTORIA HISLOP
THE BLURB
The acclaimed million-copy number one bestseller and winner of Richard & Judy’s Summer Read 2006 from Victoria Hislop is a dramatic tale of four generations, rent by war, illicit love, violence and leprosy, from the thirties, through the war, to the present day.

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…

WHAT I SAY
I picked this book for are october book club read wow what a good read . It a very touching and so well written story . The book so well researched too . The basic plot is when people got leprosy they were shipped from their home of Plaka to the island of Spinalong . You have to live in this new community wow what a community they had on this island they had no chose but to make a new life for them selfs it was so heart breaking to read at times i was so hooked on the story to see what was going to happen next how did they cope ?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... a Greek holiday- Athens and 3 islands and was recommend this book...
I had just returned from a Greek holiday- Athens and 3 islands and was recommend this book by a friend who had just returned from Crete. One of the best books I have every read ! Read more
Published 1 day ago by Suzanne M. Bergfeldt
5.0 out of 5 stars Crete
Having recently visited Spinalonga and stayed in Elounda I found the book an excellent read. Can't recommend Victoria Hislops style of story telling enough.
Published 2 days ago by J M Lord
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story wanted to find out what happened to the ...
Compelling story wanted to find out what happened to the characters and the fact you found out bits of living history from another part of the world
Published 4 days ago by Hilary Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved this story, especially as I had taken a trip to Crete and Spinalonga
Published 5 days ago by Sue Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful holiday read
I read this whilst sat in Plaka at the Blue Palace Resort and Spa Hotel. I had a broken ankle at the time so was not able to venture to Spinalonga but it was still so visible to... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mossy
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical book
Wonderful book that captures the fascinating lives of people in Crete and describes the plight of people living with leprosy. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I found this book very interesting .
Published 9 days ago by Tricia
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting but not a real page turner for me..A bit too long. I found the Greek names difficult to remember
Published 9 days ago by Ian Coe Esq
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
holiday read
Published 10 days ago by Mr M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant page turner
First book I have read by this author. I will be reading more. Brilliant page turner. Didn't want to put this down.
Published 10 days ago by S J Taylor-Robinson
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