Sunday 23 August 2020

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of a group of amazing bookstagrammers to read this book as part of a read along. This book was sent to me to review by Headline via Tandem Collective. 

In 1941, Nazi forces occupied Greece, causing a huge divide between the community and bringing it to complete destruction. Themis is fifteen years old when it happens and has already spent years stuck between her brother's strong opposing views on the situation. This book follows the family's life throughout the occupation and then through the civil war that followed and haunted Themis for years. 

This book is rich with detail of the events of the German occupation and the civil war. If I'm honest, it was a subject I knew very little about. I learned so much from reading it and enjoyed it, but occasionally felt it dominated the story and was difficult to process it as the changes within government were so volatile. If I felt like that reading it, how on earth did the Greek population feel like living through it? Each day brought changes to their lives. 

Themis was an amazing character. The book spans decades of her life and I found it fascinating to see how her thoughts and feelings developed. The way she fought for her country and her children, yet hid so much of the real her from them while they were growing up. It made me think about how much history the people we know have hidden underneath the surface. How much do they actually share with us about the events of the past. 

I thought it was really clever how the author centred the events around a family divided by political beliefs because at times you forgot which side you were supposed to be on. Both sides of the civil war carried out barbaric acts, desperate to increase their amount of followers. 

For the read along, I read this book at quite a fast pace. I think to enjoy it fully, you need to take your time with it and at some point I would love to go back and read it at a slower pace, to fully immerse myself in the political events that occurred. 

I am a huge fan of The Island and I love the way Victoria Hislop brings little known history back to life. If you are a fan of WWII fiction, this book is for you as it will allow you to read about one of the lesser known events caused by the German invasion. 

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