13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
More Hislop Histories,
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This review is from: The Thread (Paperback)
Well, anyone with the gift of keeping thousands upon thousands of readers, and all the marketing fizz that goes with it, has to be good at something.
You don't buy a book like this because it's great literature (puzzling the Spectator review....)but because it's a good story and for the first half, this races along and engages us with a family in extraordinary circumstances. It's got everything you want for a beach read : settings and history and jobs that are written in an easy and often captivating way.
You'll learn something about Greek history and for once, won't regret a penny spent on this novel. How often can you say that?
Hmmm....but all those creative writing courses and publisher blogs who teach the craft of writing really ought to shut up shop because this book shows you don't need any of it to be a best seller. Nope. Nada. Squat. In fact, perhaps what Hislop proves is that if publishers just put books out there that aren't over crafted they might sell more.
The characters are engaging but they don't develop. There is tell and show all the way through with history given to you in chunks as if it is an essay and not weaved in as part of the plot. Poor people struggle but are NICE. Rich people are UNHAPPY. And the plot device used in all Hislop novels : that photo or letter that links it all up.
And then the end - within five pages we jump from 1961 to 1978 and cram in a quick earthquake to boot. From the depth of the first half we rush into a one hell of an end.
But Hislop's doing something right.