The Island by Victoria Hislop

The IslandOn my nightstand at the moment is The Island by British novelist Victoria Hislop. Set in the years before WW2 on the island of Crete, it follows the lives and loves of the Petrakis family who live in the tiny village of Plaka. A stone’s throw away across the water is the island of Spinalonga, the final stop for those poor unfortunates who contract the dreaded disease of leprosy.

The book has it’s share of characters who we’ve all met before — the beautiful, selfish daughter who marries for money, the kind-hearted duty bound daughter, the long suffering father, etc. It becomes unique, and fascinating, when leprosy touches the lives of the family and the mother, Eleni must go live on Spinalonga, leaving behind her family and life in Plaka. I was so intrigued with what life must have been like on Spinalonga for the lepers, knowing that life went on in their villages without them, condemned to live isolated on an island from which they could still see the daily activities of Plaka.

Though well written and interesting, the book ultimately left me a bit disappointed. I wanted more of life on Spinalonga, and less of the soap opera in Plaka involving adultery, murder and family secrets. On the up side, it did inspire me to Google Spinalonga, look at pictures of the actual island, and learn more about it in that way.

My rating: 

2 thoughts on “The Island by Victoria Hislop

  1. This book is the best i have read by far it is gripping and i couldnt put it down. I found this book interesting because i grew up in a village about 20 minutes away from spinalonga i had been there before but i was 10 so i didnt really take it in i am now 14 i am going to go back to my village(as i now live in england) and visit spinalonga it really made me proud to come from crete the way it was written.The facts and language were correct and the author really brought out the culture and religion of crete, i hope for a reply because i am very intrested by this book.

    yours sincerely
    Anna Pangalou

  2. Hi Anna! I’m glad you enjoyed the book as I did. I thought it was fascinating and I would love to visit Crete one day. It really did bring the cultural and historical aspects of life on the island of Crete during that time to life. Take care and thanks again for your comments.

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