One August Night by Victoria Hislop – Review.

About The Book

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.

When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.

In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.

Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. About 15 years ago I read the prequel to this book which was called The Island. From memory it was a holiday read and I loved it. But because it was so long ago and I’ve read a lot of books since I can remember little of it. Apart from the island that became a leper colony and the way it tore apart lives when loved ones had to go and live there. But I was thrilled to be sent this follow up which I decided to read as a stand-alone novel.

It starts with a tragedy at what should have been a happy occasion. The release of all the inhabitants of Spinalonga after a cure had been found for leprosy. One of those released was affected personally by what happened and she is one whose story you read. How she coped with her release and the way she chose to deal with the tragedy that occurred. Anna was one of the central characters in The Island, and really the only one I remembered anything about.

The other thread of the story involves Manolis, who flees Crete after what occurred. He builds a new life for himself but can never settle into a relationship and be truly happy. Despite not remembering him from The Island it was his story I preferred. His life with friends, especially his landlady was one that I really enjoyed.

The culture, the people, the developing tourism all felt realistic and I would happily reread The Island and then read this again. I’m sure reading the two together will reveal so much more about the history from the time.

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