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The Thread
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on 1 March 2018
Thessaloniki is much more than a setting for this all-embracing historical saga as it plays such an important part in the story. I learnt so much about Greek history as I read about the events that this city has suffered over the years. A magnificent setting for this poignant tale that gives us a birds eye view of how the protagonists survive the catastrophes they lived through in the twentieth century. Victoria Hislop has a talent of bringing history alive on the printed page and for this reason alone I can highly recommend her writing. The life stories of Katerina and Dimitri are of course also a very important element of this many layered story which has been beautifully threaded, (excuse the pun), together.
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on 18 September 2016
If I'd had a history teacher that made the subject as enjoyable as Victoria Hislop never fails to do, then it would have been amongst my favourite subjects instead of my most loathed during my school days (many moons ago). I've learnt more from her books than I ever learnt at school that's for sure.
This is the third book of hers that I've read, the others being The Island and The Return and though I doubt she'll ever write a book that sticks in the mind like The Island did; mostly because of the subject core of that book; this one is well up there.
The fascinating way she weaves the elements of the book together and ties up all the loose ends, some you've forgotten on the way through, leaves the reader satisfied that the book is complete. What times the characters have lived through, what a turbulent history, such tragedy and inhumanity but always, the power of love shines through and holds it all together.
I love the fact that Victoria takes the time at the end of the book, to explain how she got the idea for the book and the places she shaped the characters and their lives around, it makes it feel even more real. The photo of the holocaust monument is heart-wrenching.
Another superb read from this very talented author.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 June 2016
This is a story steeped in the recent history of Thessaloniki. Katerina came there as a small girl, a six year old refugee, accidentally separated from her mother and younger sister. She's taken in by another family, a woman and her twin sisters, also fleeing to safety. Katerina dreams of finding her birth mother. She shows a great talent for needlework and the book weaves the thread of her life with the lives of other families in the same street. It covers the two world wars and the rreek civil way.

I found the story, as I always do with Victoria Hislop's books, an education and an eye-opener. I always feel they are superbly researched but the learning is worn lightly. The story and the characters carry the book over a foundation of historical accuracy. It astonished me to learn that so recently, the married women were powerless against the wishes of their husbands and women couldn't vote. Above all, this is a good story which I heartily recommend.
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on 7 August 2016
A story about a town in Greece and with the focus on a young girl who becomes separated from her mother and sister when they were about to flee a devastating fire, by boat. Her life story is cleverly woven into the political climate of the country.
This book hooked me from the beginning then went into a lot of detail about the civil unrest, invasion of The Germans, poverty, politics etc. At the time I thought it detracted from the main story line in the book (although Victoia Hislop puts the town as the main character) but on completion I realised that this 'made' the book. I now know a lot more about Greece, it's history and particularly the area north of Athens. It made me appreciate how lucky we are in the UK, being a free democratic and tolerant society. It is obvious that the writer has done an enormous amount of research and it is cleverly written.
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on 22 September 2016
This was the first Victoria Hislop book that I have read and I really enjoyed it. I had seen lots of reviews and blogs about The Island but this one caught my eye so decided to give this a go first. It was a great book and hard to put down once I got going! I loved how the author really brings Greece to life and the historical elements to it too. I found it quite thought provoking and haunting at times, and it made me want to continue and do my own research into the area and the history. I felt the book really moved me and the characters were so well written that I lost myself in the book completely at times. I've since read her latest book The Sunrise and found that to be riveting too, if not slightly rushed towards the end. I've just downloaded The Island and can't wait to read that too.
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on 5 July 2015
If I could give more than 5 stars for this book I would. It is the third book by Victoria Hislop that I have read and it didn't disappoint. Victoria weaves an effortless tale that draws you in and makes you forget the whole world outside exists. This author has the ability to make you step into the pages, to transport you in this case to Thessaloniki as you live the story yourself.
She writes in such a beautiful way and her characters have depth and credibility. These are not two-dimensional made up people they live in your heart so that every pain they feel is yours, their jubilation is yours.
I discovered this exceptional author many years ago when she had just published "The Island" which was based on the leper colony of Spinalonga. I was horrified as the book I was working on (still am!) had a section in Spinalonga. I had to read what she had written. I am so glad. I look forward to reading anything else she publishes.
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on 18 August 2015
As a child living through the London blitz, the news of the war in Europe was never off the wireless. I remember the name “Salonika” from those bulletins, but until I read this book the realities of those battles between the Axis forces and the Allies were elusive, and the earlier conflict with Turkey merely a subject taught in school.

This book brings to life those realities, with the unimaginable sufferings of the Greek people, their banished Muslims, their massacred Jews, and their brave resistance fighters. Many days after I finished reading this brilliantly researched novel, I was still feeling its effects, as if I had recently lived through its events. To achieve that is such a rare skill in an author. I heartily recommend this book, as both a gripping read and a super source of information.
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VINE VOICEon 6 June 2014
I've enjoyed the first two Victoria Hislop novels and am not really sure why it has taken me this long to pick up this book.
The novel starts with a factual historical scene setting along with the maps of the city and country - couldn't be a better start to a novel in my eyes. The story then introduces a young man with his grandparents in 2007, they decide to tell him about their past and the book begins.
From the first page we are sucked into the gorgeous Greek world of VH with some evocative prose and beautiful descriptions which make the story seem so real by creating images and sensations.
The family and other characters are established well so that when the life changing events start to unfold in the real world, VH can use the characters to show the personal effects of fires, wars and migration. Greece was a traumatic place to live in the twentieth century and rich pickings for a novel.
VH has an ability that many authors should aspire to when writing historical fiction. She researches deeply and produces accessible historical accounts, alongside fictional characters who can personalise everything going on around them. She seems to go from large scale events to the world of one person seamlessly (no pun intended!!)
Great book, I will recommend to lots of people.
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on 24 February 2018
This is the first and probably the last Victoria Hislop book I shall read. The idea was good to set the story in the Greek town of Thessoloniki and to follow the events of the second word war through its eyes but it was spoiled by the shallowness and un-believability of the characters and the further I read the less I liked the way it was going as it deteriorated into a not particularly good slushy romantic, novel.
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on 27 February 2014
The book is set in Greece and starts off in the present time, where we meet an old couple and their grandson. The Grandson has come over for a one year of studying in Greece. While he is with his grandparents they explain their story and why they are so passionately about staying in Greece and what they have experienced through their life. At times I could almost imagine myself being in Greece.

The book is very emotional and built on the turbulent history of a town and how war has changed the life of all the citizen of the town. IIt also tells the story about communisme, world war and civil war.

I loved the fact that all the characters really stand out and we get a proper insight in the life. The book is based on real history, however, it is important to remember that it is fiction. Hence, there is things happening which are not totally realistic. However, as I'm not interested in reading a history book this was more than good enough for me. The only reason I didn't give the book a full 5 stars was that a few situations seemed to have a too convenient conclusion/solution as if that was the only way for the Author to get to the conclusion she wanted.

However, overall I loved the book and didn't want it to end!
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