Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Island

"These were days in which Alexis felt herself grow older and wiser, and Fotini, in retelling so much of her past, felt herself young again. The half-century that separated the two women disappeared to vanishing point, and as they strolled arm in arm, they might even have been mistaken for sisters." -The Island by Victoria Hislop (p. 53)

The Island is the story of a family; mostly the women in a family. There is Alexis who has asked her mother Sophia if she can delve into their background so that she might know a little more about where she came from. Sophia gives in and sends her daughter to Plaka in Crete to discover the truth. So Alexis learns of Eleni and her two daughters: Maria and Anna (Sophia's mother). In learning of her family she discovers all the dirty little secrets of selfishness, infedelity, murder, and most inportanly, leprosy. Alexis discovers both villans and heros in her ancestry, and a close, if unwanted, attachment to the island of exile, Spinalonga.

As a lover of stories I am expecially drawn to the tale of people's families. These personal histories not only let us see the past in a different way, but also give us some hints into the people produced from these families. I love to know about the events and circumstances that have led a person or family to this point. So when I discovered this book I was sure that I found one that would have me intrueged until the very end. I was not dissappointed.

Within only a few pages I found myself attached to the characters of this story, feeling such pity for them and the situations they were thrown into. Not long after that I shed the first of many tears for these people. Many times I grew choked up at the heartbrake that occured throughout the three generations of women Alexis discovered. And yet I could not put down this book! The story held me tight, pulling me on with each page. I was just as invested in finding out the truth as young Alexis was. The villians and heros in the family reassuring me that every family has its good and bad apples, and perhaps both are necessary to make such a wonderful tale and legacy for their descendants.

Not only was the story captivating, but I was also greatly pleased with the writing. After having read a few books that I have had trouble getting through, it was a relief to sit down and fall into a book without having to worry about the words breaking the spell. The story flowed wonderfully, with a delicate ballance of history, discription, and emotion, led to a wonderful story I am slightly sad to have to put down. So I will keep this one for my shelf, and I look forward to picking it up to read again in the furute. I also recommend that everyone give this book a chance. With such a wonderful story, I hope everyone gets a chance to read the tale of a single family so affected by a place most would never know existed.

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