The Island - Victoria Hislop

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The Island - Victoria Hislop

On the brink of her own life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she a...

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Review of "The Island - Victoria Hislop"

published 19/02/2015 | mummytobe78
Member since : 20/07/2014
Reviews : 440
Members who trust : 52
About me :
Trying to catch up after being in hospital for an op. Will get to rating all reviews ASAP
Super
Pro Good storyline, got me to try different genre to my usual
Cons None
very helpful
Would you read it again?
Story
Characters
Readability
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"not an idyllic island"

I am a big reader but do usually stick to the same type of book such as James Patterson and Martina Cole. I was given this book by a friend who couldn't speak highly enough about it. Having ran out of things to read one night, I decided to give this a go.

The Island was published in 2005. It won the award of Newcomer of the year at the British Book Awards in 2007 and was the first work of fiction written by the author, Victoria Hislop. It was also a chosen book for Richard and Judy's book club.

The book is mainly set in the island of Spinalonga in North Eastern Crete. The island is now uninhabited and used as a tourist attraction.

The story begins with a young woman, Alexis, who is planning to travel to Greece with her boyfriend. Her mother is from Crete and has always been very secretive about her background and family which has made Alexis curious to find out about her family history. After discussing this with her mother, her mother writes her a letter to take to her old friend, Fontini, asking her to explain the family history to Alexis. Alexis travels to the village her mother is from and finds Fontini who tells her the history of her family.

The next part and bulk of the book is set in the past when Alexis's grandmother was a young girl and centres around her grandparents and great grandparents.

Alexis discovers that the island she can see across the water, Spinalonga, was once used as a leper colony for a lot of the 20th century. Anyone found to have leprosy was taken to this island and forced to live their lives their until they died, unable to see their family and friends again. The island hosted a hospital with regular visits from a Dr, school, shops and church and the residents of the island did their best to make it as comfortable and homely as possible.

There was one boatman, Georgios, who used to transport the lepers, Dr's and supplies to the island and this transpired to be Alexis's great grandfather.

Alexis is told that her great grandmother, Eleni, a schoolteacher with 2 daughters, contracted leprosy and was sent to live on Spinalonga where she eventually died. After losing his wife to leprosy, Georgios then has the 2nd heartache of having to ferry his beloved daughter to Spinalonga when she gets this dreadful disease. Once there she meets a new Dr who is doing a lot of research into leprosy, and they fall in love. It is while she is there that a cure for leprosy is discovered and all the lepers are eventually able to leave the island and return to their families.

The rest of the story is about Alexis's mother and the shame she has always felt about her family being associated with leprosy.

Victoria Hislop clearly did a lot of research into leprosy and how it affected people in different ways. Before reading this, I admit to having never given leprosy much thought and thought it was a disease of biblical times. I finished the book with a much better understanding of how disfiguring this disease could be and how cruelly people were treated for having it.

The book is written in a way which flows at a good pace. Not to fast as to get confusing and not too slow as to be boring. I would recommend this book, even if it is not your usual type of read.

The Island can be bought on Amazon for £6.29 and in Waterstones bookshop for £7.19, a price which I do feel is a little expensive for a book which is 10 years old.

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  • snow_drops published 26/10/2016
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  • CelticSoulSister published 04/06/2016
    Well reviewed!
  • StewwyB published 19/11/2015
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Product Information : The Island - Victoria Hislop

Manufacturer's product description

On the brink of her own life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more. Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fortini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...

Product Details

Type: Fiction

Genre: Modern Fiction

Title: The Island

Author: Victoria Hislop

ISBN: 0061340324; 0755309502; 0755309510; 0755327268; 0755329643; 0755346157

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 30/05/2006

The Island - Victoria Hislop - Review - not an idyllic island

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About me: Trying to catch up after being in hospital for an op. Will get to rating all reviews ASAP

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Quote-start

not an idyllic island

Quote-end
19.02.2015

Advantages:
Good storyline, got me to try different genre to my usual

Disadvantages:
None

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Would you read it again?

Story

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Readability

How does it compare to similar books?

How does it compare to other works by the same author?

30 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
very helpful by (100%):
  1. snow_drops
  2. CelticSoulSister
  3. StewwyB
and 27 other members

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I am a big reader but do usually stick to the same type of book such as James Patterson and Martina Cole. I was given this book by a friend who couldn't speak highly enough about it. Having ran out of things to read one night, I decided to give this a go.

The Island was published in 2005. It won the award of Newcomer of the year at the British Book Awards in 2007 and was the first work of fiction written by the author, Victoria Hislop. It was also a chosen book for Richard and Judy's book club.

The book is mainly set in the island of Spinalonga in North Eastern Crete. The island is now uninhabited and used as a tourist attraction.

The story begins with a young woman, Alexis, who is planning to travel to Greece with her boyfriend. Her mother is from Crete and has always been very secretive about her background and family which has made Alexis curious to find out about her family history. After discussing this with her mother, her mother writes her a letter to take to her old friend, Fontini, asking her to explain the family history to Alexis. Alexis travels to the village her mother is from and finds Fontini who tells her the history of her family.

The next part and bulk of the book is set in the past when Alexis's grandmother was a young girl and centres around her grandparents and great grandparents.

Alexis discovers that the island she can see across the water, Spinalonga, was once used as a leper colony for a lot of the 20th century. Anyone found to have leprosy was taken to this island and forced to live their lives their until they died, unable to see their family and friends again. The island hosted a hospital with regular visits from a Dr, school, shops and church and the residents of the island did their best to make it as comfortable and homely as possible.

There was one boatman, Georgios, who used to transport the lepers, Dr's and supplies to the island and this transpired to be Alexis's great grandfather.

Alexis is told that her great grandmother, Eleni, a schoolteacher with 2 daughters, contracted leprosy and was sent to live on Spinalonga where she eventually died. After losing his wife to leprosy, Georgios then has the 2nd heartache of having to ferry his beloved daughter to Spinalonga when she gets this dreadful disease. Once there she meets a new Dr who is doing a lot of research into leprosy, and they fall in love. It is while she is there that a cure for leprosy is discovered and all the lepers are eventually able to leave the island and return to their families.

The rest of the story is about Alexis's mother and the shame she has always felt about her family being associated with leprosy.

Victoria Hislop clearly did a lot of research into leprosy and how it affected people in different ways. Before reading this, I admit to having never given leprosy much thought and thought it was a disease of biblical times. I finished the book with a much better understanding of how disfiguring this disease could be and how cruelly people were treated for having it.

The book is written in a way which flows at a good pace. Not to fast as to get confusing and not too slow as to be boring. I would recommend this book, even if it is not your usual type of read.

The Island can be bought on Amazon for 6.29 and in Waterstones bookshop for 7.19, a price which I do feel is a little expensive for a book which is 10 years old.
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Comments about this review »

snow_drops 26.10.2016 12:13

vh

CelticSoulSister 04.06.2016 10:50

Well reviewed!

StewwyB 19.11.2015 12:57

vh

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Product Information

Manufacturer's product description

On the brink of her own life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofi...

Product details

Type Fiction
Genre Modern Fiction
Title The Island

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since 30/05/2006

Show all Product Information

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This review of The Island - Victoria Hislop has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. snow_drops
  2. CelticSoulSister
  3. StewwyB

and 27 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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