Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Island” as Want to Read:
The Island
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Island

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  32,531 ratings  ·  2,370 reviews
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Paperback, 473 pages
Published April 10th 2006 by Headline (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Island, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
zena cottrell
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,531 ratings  ·  2,370 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Tara Verdi
Nov 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The story line of this book is pretty good... but it is the most poorly written book I've read in awhile. She explains things - emotions, plot lines - to a level where she's beating you over the head with it and every sentence has about three adjectives too many. You'll want to finish it to find out what happens, but her writing style will drive you nuts while you do.
Dana Ilie
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub
As a novel, The Island has come in for a fair amount of criticism, that I for one strongly disagree with. I loved it! The author captured the warmth, charm and passion of the Cretans and of the Island of Crete, and poignantly described the heartbreaking situation of a time and place that still haunts to this day.

You simply must read this heartrending, brilliantly descriptive and meticulously researched piece of work, whether you are able to visit the island or not. If you do read the book, then
Tea Jovanović
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Još jedna od meni dražih uredničkih kupovina... Nesvakidašnja knjiga, tema o kojoj ranije ništa nismo znali, a sada zahvaljujući ovoj knjizi i seriji koja je prikazivana prošle godine i mi nešto više znamo o tom periodu iz grčke istorije...
Nažalost, u Srbiji knjiga nije odmah "zaživela" zbog neadekvatnih korica (koje nisu bile moj izbor, promenjene su za drugo izdanje), dok je u Hrvatskoj odmah postala hit... Ono što je meni kao uredniku uvek najdraže jeste to da je priča o njoj kružila od usta
Jun 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: crapbooks
I had great hopes that this would be a good book.

But life can be disappointing at times. This was one of the worst written books I have read in a long time. Chunks of unnecessarty exposition, character motivations eplained to the nth degree, dialogue avoided like...well, like it was leprosy.

If you like your characters spoon fed to you, and every meaningful scene ducked (I mean, why didn't we get to see the last evening she and her husband had together? What exactly did they say?), well, this is
Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Ayala
Shelves: bookclub
"You must pay the rent!" the evil villain roared, twirling his diabolical mustache. He was her landlord, and he was an impatient man.

"But I can't pay the rent!" swooned the beautiful, hapless heroine. She was his tenant. Her breathtaking beauty was matched only by her saintliness. She was always being taken advantage of by the wicked people around her, yet she was committed to remaining good.

"You must pay the rent!"
"But I can't pay the rent!"

"I'll pay the rent!" shouted the mysterious stranger.
Lance Greenfield
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
The background to this story is so well researched that you feel as if it is a truthful account of events surrounding the lives of those suffering from leprosy in Crete during the Second World War, and their families and friends. There is love and tragedy, betrayal and loyalty, deceit and courage.

Thankfully, both medicinal science and the attitude of society to serious illness have made massive advances since those days.

Once you have started reading this book, you will become captivated, and wil
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book.

The primary subject matter of the book was well researched and very interesting and original - that of the fate of Leprosy sufferers in pre-war and wartime Greece. I found this aspect of the book very interesting, the experimental treatments, the descriptions of how they organised their lives on the island and set up a democracy, the emotions surrounding being forcibly taken away from your families and made to live in isolation. I didn't know a lot about le
Niki Lopez
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was awesome. I read it on my honeymoon, while I was laying on the beach, and I couldn't put it down. I read the whole thing in two days. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in European history. I learned a ton about leprosy and the stigma associated with the disease. I think we all know a bit about leprosy, but it was really enlightening about the overall topic, especially since it is still an epidemic in many third world countries. The female characters were also very int ...more
I have never written a review or reccomendation before & i wont tell the story line because there are many revews here that have already done that, not to mention the blurb. Instead i will tell you why it s one of my all time favourites (another being Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berniere) & why I recommend it to anyone who will listen, even my husband who also loved it! So anyone who might give it a miss thinking its a chick-lit don't! it does have romance but it's much more than tha ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-life
Με το παρόν βιβλίο η Βικτόρια Χίσλοπ μας αγάπησε ως χώρα (έμαθε ελληνικά, ήρθε στη χώρα, πληρώνει ΕΝΦΙΑ για το σπίτι της στην Κρήτη, έκανε δουλειά με το MEGA και εξακολουθεί να μας αγαπάει - βέβαια μια Βρετανή θεωρεί λογικό να πληρώσει φόρο ιδιοκτησίας και στο MEGA την προσκυνούσαν για την τιμή που τους έκανε να τους δώσει το βιβλίο της - γενικά νομίζω ότι αντιμετωπίζεται με μεγάλο σεβασμό από όλο τον κόσμο και γι' αυτό εξακολουθεί να μας αγαπάει, άσε που κι εμείς μη γνωρίσουμε φιλέλληνα, τεμενά ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I enjoyed this novel so much that halfway thru it I ordered Victoria Hislop's next book. The writing style is fantastic. The descriptions are eloquent without being pompous or overdone. The characters are like everyday people, if a bit exagerated. It starts with Alexis, a young woman trying to get to the bottom of her mother's strange and mysterious past while vacationing in Crete. I would like to note here that it is NOT like the "Forgotten Garden" for those of you that are not fond of time jum ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book - partly because the island that the story centers on was the view from our terrace during our honeymoon but also because of the unique topic of the story. It was a quick and enjoyable read though I think was weak in a few ways. As with many novels that combine the past and the present with the past being the focus, the scenes in the present were not as well written and lacked depth and development. I thought Alexis' struggle over her relationship with Ed was totally irrelevan ...more
Asghar Abbas
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it

I always wanted to go to Greece in literature and now I have. Let me tell you, it was worth the trip in this story too.

This book is like getting postcards from all the places you have never been to and now don't want to. For Home is gone and it is now in every one of those places you will never visit.

Highly recommended.
Πολύ μου άρεσε! Θίγοντας ένα ευαίσθητο κι επικίνδυνου θέμα, κατάφερε η συγγραφέας να μας χαρίσει ένα σπουδαίο βιβλίο που ευτύχησε και σε μια καταπληκτική τηλεοπτική μεταφορά.
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este foi o segundo livro de Victoria Hislop que li, depois de diversas meninas dos fóruns me terem persuadido a ler, especialmente a Vera Neves, afirmando ser ainda melhor que o A Arca. Mas uma vez tiveram razão. Antes de mais devo congratular a autora pelo seu exaustivao trabalho de pesquisa acerca da lepra. Todos nós já ouvimos falar da lepra, nem que tenha sido, como eu, na catequese e na leitura da Bíblia ou, se recordam do pai de um dos personagens de Braveheart, não me recordo agora o nome ...more
Ioanna Xristodoyloy
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
υπήρχε μια εποχή που διαβάζαμε πολύ αγνοτερα από τώρα. δεν υπήρχε facebook κάνεις δεν μας πιπίλιζε τα αυτιά με διαφημίσεις μπεστ σελερ ,δεν υπήρχαν βιβλιοομαδες και όλα ήταν καλύτερα. τότε λοιπόν έπεσε και στα χεριά μου ούτε θυμάμαι πως αυτό το βιβλίο. συνήθως με ενοχλεί να γράφει ένας ξένος συγγραφέας μυθιστόρημα με φόντο την Ελλάδα νομίζω πως δεν μπορεί να πιάσει τον ελληνικό παλμό. Σε αυτό όμως πέτυχε σχεδόν τα πάντα. το θέμα του πρωτότυπο . μέχρι και σήμερα δεν ξέρω πολλά βιβλία να έχουν τοπ ...more
. . . _ _ _ . . .
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Θυμάμαι μας είχαν πάει σε ένα συνέδριο, το είχα ανάμεσα στα χαρτιά, το διάβαζα κρυφά και ήθελα να κλάψω κοτζάμ γάιδαρος.
Beautifully imagined, well-researched and evocatively told, Victoria Hislop’s The Island recreates a leper colony of the 1930s and follows its inmates and neighbors on the Island of Crete through the Second World War to the present day. The theme of searching for identity is well-served as the author follows characters whose identities have been stolen by disease—some losing their physical self-image, others half-destroyed mentally by loss of family and friends. The agony of ostracism, the fear ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable read, albeit out of my usual genres. That said being a real Hellenophile and having a number of Cretan friends, I was always going to enjoy it. I do not know the area described in the book at all well, my friends live nearer Rethymno, but I have flown in over Spinalonga many times and was aware of its history.
The story was woven well into the history of both Crete and the Isle of Spinalonga.
Would recommend to anyone with a love of Greece or Crete, or just looking for a genui
Uma lindíssima história sobre mudança, resiliência, segundas oportunidades, segredos e claro, amor.
A autora escreve de forma cativante e interessante sobre um tema pouco ou nada abordado em literatura: a Doença de Hanseníase, ou como é mais conhecida, lepra. Uma doença tão antiga, quanto estigmatizante.
Adoro estes livros que para além do seu caráter lúdico têm sempre uma componente história e informativa.
Altamente recomendável!
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knjiga mi se svidjela, radnja me držala znatiželjnom od prve do zadnje stranice. Svidjela mi se snaga nekih ljubavnih prica, svidjeli su mi se likovi, iako neki možda nisu najbolje razrađeni. Ali moram priznati da se slažem s nekim komentarima koje sam pročitala, stil pisanja je poprilično jednostavan, u početku je to ok ali do kraja knjige malo dojadi. Sve u svemu, lijepa priča, spisateljica me ipak uspjela uvući u nju, uživala sam pa stoga pet zvjezdica.
21/1 - I think this book desperately wanted to be a non-fiction history book, but maybe Hislop was unable to find any stories from real residents of Spinalonga so was forced to write it with fictional ones. I was very interested in the story of the inhabitants of the island, the treatments used for leprosy before the cure was found, and what the eventual cure was, but Hislop's writing created a huge distance between me and all of her characters. My experience reading this reminded me of reading ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have watched the Greek series based on the book so I knew what was going on, but still I loved the book. I agree that there are many long descriptions but I don't think they make the book boring. I think they gave life to the book. I heard many people complaining about the author's language. I read the book in Greek but I don't think the English/original version could be bad. I liked the way Greece was described. It was a realistic portrait of Greece. It is obvious Hislop painted her book with ...more
Lyn Elliott
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
'A beach read with a heart' was one of the promo lines on the book's cover. It's true that the author writes about emotions of love and loss, but my emotions certainly weren't engaged by the downs and ups of the story, and it does seems to be more downs than ups. None of her characters truly comes alive, characters are bluntly and repetitively described rather than revealed or heard through their own voices in dialogue.
Her writing style is uninspired. And, as others have noted, we didn't need th
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars.

It was ok, and the central story of the leper colony was very interesting. The crime of passion a bit OTT, but I felt that the first and last chapter, involving another generation of the family, was rather pointless.

I may still read The Thread, as I have it in my kindle already, and it is set in the hometown of a good friend.
Philip Lane
Jun 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am afraid I really didn't get along with this book at all. It is fairly easy to read and has some interesting subject matter but I feel it takes a scatter gun approach, putting in a little bit of everything, and failing to hit any target. The book covers 70 years of Cretan history and 4 generations of a family. We get information on leprosy, the way it was treated, medically, socially and officially. Hislop includes a range of incidents that took place on and around Spinalonga, which appear to ...more
Ana Dumitrache
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Insula este cartea perfectă pentru un concediu la mare, liniște, miros de sare și de alge, soare și briză. Pentru mine așa a fost. Am citit-o într-un moment ideal, pe malul mării. Mi-a plăcut mult, poate și pentru că am asociat-o cu acest moment.
Insula spune povestea a două familii, legate prin dragoste. E o saga scurtă ca dimensiune, dar cu multe personaje frumoase, a căror viață le poartă pe același drum. Alexis face o călătorie în Creta pentru a afla povestea de familie a mamei sale, Sofia. P
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-english
When I first read its reviews, I got a completely wrong impression of this book and was even reluctant to read it, expecting it to be a melodramatic account of a Mediterranean romance. Then a colleague of mine told me she had given it as a reading assignment to her class, so I thought there was more to it than met the eye.

It is not only an intricate family saga of four generations, but also a faithful rendering of life in a rural Cretan community and on the isolated island of Spinalonga from th
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really liked the idea for this book, I found it really interesting, but I found the story poorly written. Set on a Greek Island, the excuse for the main character to go to the former leper colony was contrived, and didn't make much sense to me. Why her mother would have simply cut off contact with everyone she knew I didn't really understand; I didn't engage with any of the characters as I felt they had little substance behind them. They seemed to be very clear cut; one was 'good' and one was ...more
Anastasia Ts.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ένα βιβλίο με πολλές πωλήσεις, αγαπητό στο αναγνωστικό κοινό για την πλοκή και την περιγραφή του κρητικού τοπίου. Γιατί μου άρεσε αυτό το βιβλίο; Καταπιάνεται με ένα ευαίσθητο θέμα της εποχής κ η συγγραφέας καταφέρνει να παρουσιάσει την ασθένεια αλλά και την καθημερινότητα της ζωής των λεπρών με σεβασμό στα δικαιώματά τους. Πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο που θα βρει σε αυτό ο αναγνώστης θέματα που αφορούν την ιστορία, την πολιτική, την θέση της γυναίκας, το δικαίωμα στο σεξ. Όσον αφορά την δομή του βι ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Life of a Book: Cruelty, pain and happiness in the same book 2 3 Jul 25, 2017 01:35PM  
50 books to read ...: The Island 2 23 Oct 10, 2016 04:02AM  
The Island 11 158 May 26, 2016 01:11PM  
Vintage Book Group: The Island Discussion 3 31 Sep 25, 2013 07:05AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Broken Paradise
  • Θεανώ, η λύκαινα της Πόλης
  • Η αγάπη άργησε μια μέρα
  • Idas Dans
  • Random Acts Of Heroic Love
  • Αθηνά: Ευτυχώς που δεν γεννήθηκα όμορφη...
  • Tell It To The Skies
  • Τα δάκρυα του Θεού
  • The Memory Garden
  • The Savage Garden
  • Guernica
  • Λευκή ορχιδέα
  • East of the Sun
  • Τα στενά παπούτσια
  • Notes from an Exhibition
  • The Rose of Sebastopol
  • A Viela da Duquesa
  • The House of Dust and Dreams
See similar books…
Victoria Hislop read English at Oxford, and worked in publishing, PR and as a journalist before becoming a novelist. She is married with two children.

Her first novel, The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback charts for eight consecutive weeks and has sold over two million copies worldwide. Victoria was the Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007 and wo
“Like any collection of family photographs, it was a random selection that told only fragments of a story. The real tale would be revealed by the pictures that were missing or never even taken at all, not the ones that had been so carefully framed or packed away neatly in an envelope.” 11 likes
“After the endless disappointing cups of Nescafé, served as though the tasteless dissolving granules of instant coffee were a delicacy, Alexis felt no cup of coffee had ever tasted as powerful and delicious as this.
It seemed that nobody had the heart to tell the Greeks that Nescafé was no longer a novelty – it was this old-fashioned thick and treacly fluid that everyone, including her, craved.”
More quotes…