Sunday 30 October 2011

The Thread ~ Victoria Hislop

I love Greece.   My first Greek holiday was to Rhodes about 14 years ago and I fell in love with the people, the food, the culture - everything about it.  Since then, we've tried to go back twice a year and have visited different islands.  There is something magical about the place and the people.   I read Victoria Hislop's first novel; The Island back in 2006 and loved it so much.  I was lucky enough to visit Spinalonga (the leper island where the novel is set) a couple of years later and found it a really emotional and moving experience.
I was very excited when I found out that her third novel; The Thread was a return to the Greek setting.  I read it over the weekend and have been entranced once again by her writing and her ability to paint such a vivid picture and to create such realistic characters.

The Thread is set in Greece's second city Thessaloniki with a prologue set in the present day.  A young Anglo-Greek hears for the first time the story of his Grandparents and this story starts in 1917.  A fire rages out of control and most of the citizens are left homeless.  A baby boy is born that night and The Thread follows the story of that child - Dimitri Komninos.      As a small boy Dimitri plays on the street with Katerina who is a refugee from Asia Minor, she fled when the Turks invaded her homeland.

This is a story of long-lasting, enduring love.  It is also the story of a nation and particularly a city.  Following the turbulent events of the twentieth century.  Fires, wars, invastions, dictatorship and earthquakes this country and it's people went through so much.    There are heartbreaking scenes within the story - the brutality and violence that happened during the German occupation - the fierce civil war and fighting between the Government and the rebel communists.
Victoria Hislop
At times this is a complex read and The Thread is an apt title - not only because of the links to the textile industry but also the clever way that Hislop has linked her characters, regardless of their race or status within the city.
Ultimately a love story, this is also a story of survival and of bravery, of passion and at times of brutality and such great sadness.

As in her previous novels, the modern day prologue and epilogue tie up the historical story.  It's a neat way of letting the reader know how history influenced the present for the characters.

I was bewitched from page one, and The Thread is most certainly going to be one of my Top Five reads of 2011.


  1. Well as promised yesterday - I'm starting 'The Island' tonight. I sat in a cafe in Elouanda looking over to Spinalonga about 17 years ago and was enchanted with the tale of the Leper Colony. I wonder whether that was where Father Damien lost his life to leprosy?

    'The Thread' sounds enchanting. I've also been to Thessaloniki whilst visiting Pefkohori in Halkadidi - about six years ago. The surrounding countryside is different from any I've seen before in Greece. Thanks for this review and for talking to me about 'The Island' yesterday. I'm full of excited anticipation about this one!
    Joan x

  2. Hello Joan. I just know that you are going to love The Island, I'm actually quite envious that you will be reading it for the first time.
    I know that you love Greece as much as I do.
    Happy reading xx

  3. Hi Anne, back from my travels and trying to catch up with all my favourite bloggers. I see you have had a break yourself and are now back with some great titles for me to make sure get added to my wishlist. I love Victoria Hislop's writing so was delighted to discover that novel number three is out, thanks to your review.