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  • Location: Spinalonga

The Island

The Island

Why a Booktrail?

1950s/60s: A fictional yet vivid account of events surrounding the lives of those suffering from leprosy in Crete during the Second World War.

  • ISBN: 978-0755309511
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But all her mother Sofia will say is that she grew up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. Alexis decides to visit Crete and so Sofia gives her a letter to deliver to an old friend there saying that this friend has some of the answers she is looking for.

As she arrives in Plaka, Alexis is surprised to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony.

She wants to know more and so discovers that this mysterious place has links to her own past. More and more of the past comes to light and events soon become a lot more complicated that Alexis could ever have imagined.

Travel Guide

Greece is a place known for its glistening seas, sandy beaches, white buildiings and sun ripened food so to read a novel that bucks everything expected and instead is set on an island there known for its history of being a leper colony is a remarkable literary feat.

But Victoria Hislop wants you to see behind the mask and to see a remarkable side to Greece and in particular the island of Spinalonga that most of us will not have heard of before.

The Island recreates a leper colony of the 1930s  – Spinalonga was a leper colony until 1957. The agony of those inside and the behaviour of strangers is examined and explored. Interesting  yet heartbreaking to learn more of something so horrifically true.

Alexis who visits the island in the book sums up her experiences so far –

“Her few hours of isolation were a mere pinprick of time compared with the life sentence of loneliness that past inhabitants of Spinalonga must have faced.”

This is a true story – showing you a side of humanity and how paradise can hide a multitude of sins.

Booktrailer Review

Susan @thebooktrailer

I knew nothing of Spinalonga before reading this and can’t believe what I was reading. Those poor people and the stigma they suffered! It was quite the eye opener as I had no idea these places existed. Just how many more Spinalonga’s must there have been in the world?

Victoria Hislop does an excellent job of brining this story to life. Her evocative writing welcomes you to Crete and the surrounding area as the sights sounds and smells leap from the page. When we get to Spinalonga, the ugly attitude of the time contrasts with this and made me realise just what a Leper colony meant.

I cried and felt upset at many points during the book but feel I’ve learned a lot from it. It never reads heavy or like a lesson at all and the whole story reads as if it could be true not just the setting and the Spinalonga legacy.

Everyone should read this and  I really want to visit the island now as Victoria Hislop has transported me there with her writing.

This has to be a movie at some point. It played beautifully in my mind.

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Twitter:  @VicHislop

Facebook:  /OfficialVictoriaHislop

Web: victoriahislop.com

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