Painting: Courtesy of B. Haynie

Welcome to this month’s book review.badge_proreader

This book is  released on Tuesday 12th May 2015


the threshing circleThis powerfully evocative book is centred on the island of Crete. Not the Crete though that we know as tourists, rather it focuses on the island’s darker side, on its betrayals and vendettas spanning generations, on its sense of honour and of course on love.

Kirsty is a feisty intelligent Scottish lady who runs a kafenion in Chania.  Recovering from a failed relationship in Scotland she is slowly pulled into the lives of the inhabitants. One particular older dapper Cretan, Barba Yiorga has caught her eye – for the wrong reasons as despite his Zorba-like character she is repelled by him. Even his popularity in the community, where he is regarded as a hero, does not sway her opinion of him. However as they are forced to act together to save the lives of an English couple her feelings for Barba Yiorga change.

As the beautiful Eleni (part Greek) and her English husband Patrick visit the island in a quest to discover the truth of her heritage, an old family enemy reacts to ensure that truth remains buried and he will stop at nothing to ensure the secret remains unknown whilst finally seeking his vengeance.

As the unsuspecting couple are kidnapped the haunting nature of Crete and its magical vitality is brought vividly to life. Kirsty and Barba Yiorga travers the island searching for Eleni and Patrick and their endeavours take them from far flung mountain monasteries, to houses seemingly hewn from the mountain rocks, to the remote island of Gavdos, to an old woman whose mystical powers prove instrumental in their survival.  The book never ceases to enthral the reader.

As Barba Yiorga’s enemy and his two animalistic sons close in on them Kirsty’s confused feelings for Barba Yiorga threaten their lives. The suspense is maintained throughout the book even as it traces back to the complex tangled events of the  German Occupation of Crete and the hanging of an Englishwoman. Towards the end the tension reaches a climax of graphic violent and brutal proportions. Thankfully the story does not end there as the final gentle and warm resolution is the perfect antidote to the previous events.

I found this a thoroughly engrossing book, with the beauty and mysticism of  Crete captured eloquently. At times harrowing, often very touching, the book rang true. It is not an relaxing beach read but I would definitely recommend it.

Book Rating: Smiley-face-emoticon-575-2

Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing

Price:  £ 8.99  or £ 3.49 on Amazon Kindle for download.

“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.”

Tracy Chapman


  1. Mike

    Having been to Crete on holiday I found this a very interesting book review. The effects of the occupation of Crete during the war are still being felt there today. Thanks to your review I’m going to get this book and find out for myself what the story is all about. I can’t wait until tomorrow!!


  2. Barbara

    What an intriguing book review Annika! You really need to think about writing movie trailers also. Your writing is so vivid that I feel as if I just finished watching a movie clip….now I want to buy tickets. Two please…because it sounds like my husband would like it too.
    Brilliant review dear lady.
    Hope there is someone out there to write your book review as accomplished as you my friend.
    And last but not least….What a happy surprise to see the painting attached to your wonderful review.
    Thank you!

    1. Barbara you are so right, I can just imagine this as a movie. The sweeping dramatic landscape, the tension throughout, the individual journeys, the action. A sure hit!! Just bring the popcorn and we’d be set:-). Thank you for your kind comments and for allowing me to use your painting.

  3. Thank you so much Mirja. I do hope you will enjoy the book and look forward to your opinion afterwards if you don’t mind. So glad you are enjoying the blog, it’s a joy to create and yes, the book in due course…I hope…

  4. Peter R

    A very informative and tempting review; it sounds like a book to read. I think it’s well to remember that beneath the beauty of Greece and its islands there is still a dark past; quite a lot of it still within living memory.

  5. Mirja

    Annika, You delight me. What a wonderfully written review of a book. Dramatic, sensitive
    and very intelligent. How can I not buy this book now?
    In spite of the ‘graphic violence’ which you kindly tell us will end in a ‘gentle and warm resolution’.
    I love Crete, it’s dramatic scenery and strong people so the promise of seeing the island through the eyes of Kirsty and Barba really does excite.

    I just love your writing and enjoy your blog whilst waiting for a full scale book.:)

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