Monday 17 August 2020

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop @VicHislop AUDIO BLOG TOUR #ThoseWhoAreLoved @headlinepg @Emily_JP

After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.

Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This gripping new novel from bestselling author Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece's past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop was published in hardback by Headline Review on 30 May this year. I was part of the Blog Tour for the original publication and am delighted to re-share my original review.

As part of the Audio Blog Tour for the paperback publication, which is released on 20 August 2020, I am so pleased to share an audio clip of the book, read by Juliet Stevenson.
My thanks to Emily from Headline who invited me to take part on the Audio Blog Tour

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop - read by Juliet Stevenson

My review of Those Who Are Loved (originally published in the Daily Express

Athens in the present day, and Themis is celebrating another birthday. Surrounded by many members of her extended family; children and grandchildren, and by her side, as always, her beloved husband George. 
As the party ends, and the family drift away to their own homes, Themis is left alone with George and two of her favourite grown-up grandchildren. She begins to tell them of her earlier life. 
The reader is transported back to Athens in 1941. Themis and her siblings live with her Aunt in a flat in the city. Her brothers argue constantly about politics, whilst her sister is more concerned with clothes and glamour. Themis herself sympathises with the left and secretly supports the Communist movement. 
When the Nazis invade Athens, the population react with mixed feelings. Some welcome the German soldiers, some are wary and determined never to allow Greece to be taken by Germany. 
Athens is devastated by the invasion. Poverty, hunger and fear reign over the residents. Many long-standing families disappear, people die in the streets as the Nazis take all of the food. It is a struggle to survive.Despite the defeat of the Nazis, life for Greeks and especially those living in Athens does not improve. The internal fighting between the Government and the communists bring even more hardship and terror to the country. Themis who is still a passionate supporter of the Communist cause joins their fight and eventually is incarcerated at the infamous island of Makronisos. 
This is a searing and powerful story that is both passionate and fascinating. It’s the story of how one woman’s ideals and beliefs shape everything that she becomes. It is both a beautifully woven love story, and a spellbinding and heart breaking depiction of a country torn apart by hatred.

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller and a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. The Island has sold over 1.2million copies in the UK and more than 5 million worldwide.

Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, which inspired her second bestseller The Return, and she returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki in The Thread, shortlisted for a British Book Award and confirming her reputation as an inspirational storyteller. It was followed by her much-admired Greece-set short story collection, The Last Dance and Other Stories. The Sunrise, a Sunday Times Number One bestseller about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, was published to widespread acclaim in 2014. Victoria's most recent book, Cartes Postales from Greece was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and one of the Top Ten biggest selling paperbacks of 2017. Her novels have sold 10 million copies worldwide.

Twitter @VicHislop

Praise for Victoria Hislop

'Nobody writes about Greece quite like Victoria Hislop', Red magazine

'She brings Greek history to compelling life.....there is deep historical research here, but it never bogs down her story', The Sunday Times

'A beautifully woven love story and a spellbinding, heart-breaking depiction of a country torn apart by hatred', Daily Express

'Hislop has done her research and handles the great sweep of complex Greek history with skill and confidence. She makes a touching family story out of violent and divisive times and her fans will lap this up', Daily Mail

'An eye-opening and moving read', The Mirror

'A moving read that sweeps you through time', S Mag

'A glorious Greek setting and rich historical detail form the backdrop of this captivating and poignant story'Woman & Home 

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