The Island by Victoria Hislop

From the gloomy northern shores of Camilla Läckberg’s Sweden to the heart-rending southern shores of Victoria Hislop’s Crete. What a leap in my reading here! 

Tackling a new writer at the same time. I had never heard of her and came across her first book quite by chance, curious about novels dealing with history. 


The novel is about a young English woman’s quest to dig into her family hidden and secret past. Her mother having kept mute about it.

What has Spinalonga got to do with her family? 


As I hadn’t read any comments of her book, I started just reading its back cover and the place Spinalonga which was hinted at just reminded me of an island I had seen from a coastal road so long ago ( in the 1970’s) when visiting Crete as a young mindless student freshly out of university. I remember being awe-struck by the fact it was, once, a colony where lepers were cast away but being young I soon forgot about it and focussed on a fisherman who had caught a huge octopus and was hitting it against stones along the deserted costal road scorched by the merciless sun. Youth!!!

The book I have just read provides a deep insight  into the life ,the psychological as well as the physical agony of the lepers on that island. It made me want to go back there and have a much more empathic approach of the place. Life has taught me better since my early adulthood.

A must read!

A film was shot on the premises based on Hislop’s book. I have just watched a few scenes of episode 1 but I must say the book is more powerful to convey the tragedy of a leper’s life on that island. The tragedy but also the power of human will on fate, superstitions, wrong beliefs  when leprosy was a fatal issue. One must remember that place was emptied as late as 1957 and its last inhabitant, a priest, left in 1962, not so long ago really! 

A Greek friend of mine, Cretan related,  sent me a link to add to my blog.