Beadyjan's Reviews > Those Who Are Loved

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
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really liked it

A wonderfully engaging story set in wartime Greece. Renowned author Victoria Hislop returns to early to mid 20th century Greece to introduce us to the life of heroine Themis, who begins the story as a young woman and as her life story opens up we follow her into her future as Greece struggles with the occupation of her country by Germans.

Greece is split in two by politics and war and I wondered if the historic political details may make this book a touch a little heavy going for a summer read as often political details can be complex and confusing.

However, I found it superbly easy to engage with such a likeable and believable protagonist as Themis and I slid into her life like slipping into a bath of warm olive oil. I was quickly drawn into her world, redolent with the aromas and arguments of Greek family life and swept along by the barrage of events occurring in what begins as a simple life and builds into one of remarkable heroism, determination and selfless compassion.

At the start of Themis' story, she lives in a crumbling old mansion owned by her somewhat flaky Mothers family, but tragedy forces the family to decamp and live in her paternal grandmothers' apartment on the outskirts of Athens. Sibling rivalry is strong in this family and her older sister never misses the chance to tease and taunt her little sister and her two older brothers can never see eye to eye, Themis’ family are divided, by beliefs and politics and there is bickering and sniping at every family meal which eventually turns into bitterness and recrimination. But Themis is a young woman able to make her own mind up and as she decides her path she makes a few brave and one or two rash decisions (Don’t we all at some point?) Her life choices are set to have repercussions which reverberate across the decades.

When this intelligent but rather lonely schoolgirl finds a new school friend Fotini, the 2 girls become inseparable, despite different backgrounds until again tragedy intervenes and fate begins to show its hand to Themis.

It’s a story of friendship and atonement, of war and politics and abiding love which transcends class barriers. For anyone who, like me, enjoys holidays in the warmth and conviviality of Greece today it comes as a bit of a shock to read in detail, about the dreadful events in the near distant past, which although I was aware of, hadn’t considered the impact on everyday families trying to get on with their lives.

The Author does a sterling job of combining a gripping beach read with a deeply political statement and historical facts. I mean no disrespect when I say this is the thinking-womans chick-lit.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 21, 2019 – Shelved
May 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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