Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperback
First Published: 2011
I had never read a historical novel of Greek history in the 20th century before, but this one was pretty intriguing from the start. Here is what the novel is about.
"From the internationally acclaimed author of The Island and The Return comes a sweeping and unforgettable story of love and friendship and the choices that must be made when loyalties are challenged.
Thessaloniki, Greece, 1917: As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will forever change this place and its people. Five years later, as the Turkish army pushes west through Asia Minor, young Katerina loses her mother in the crowd of refugees clambering for boats to Greece. Landing in Thessaloniki's harbor, she is at the mercy of strangers in an unknown city. For the next eighty years, the lives of Dimitri and Katerina will be entwined with each other and--through Nazi occupation, civil war, persecution, and economic collapse--with the story of their homeland.
Thessaloniki, Greece, 2007: A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents' remarkable story for the first time and understands he has a decision to make. For decades, Dimitri and Katerina have looked after the treasures of those who have been forced from their beloved city. Should he stay and become their new custodian?" (GoodReads)
The backdrop of this story is the friction and war between Greece and Turkey. It considers the second generation survivor Jewish women in Thessaloniki (the second largest city in Greece).
Of course, there is a love story. Katerina and Dimitri get brought together and you know they're going to be together throughout the whole novel, even against the odds at times.
An additional element of the novel is Katerina's relationship and opposing dynamic to her mother. She is separated from her mother and finds herself into a new kind home.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It didn't really feel like a historical novel -rich in historical mumbo jumbo. I actually loved the pace and the different interweaving connections between the characters.
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