I’m delighted today to be on the blog tour for the gorgeous Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson. The cover is completely stunning and I cannot wait to read this book because the cover portrays intrigue and gorgeousness and the island of Crete was the very first place abroad that I went to!
I’m going to share the book description, then below is an extract from the book. Reading this extract made me want to read the book even more! Hope it makes you feel the same way!
About the book
An inspiring, vivid and absorbing story of love, hope, intrigue and revenge on the island of Crete, as grandmother, mother and daughter unlock the secrets of tragic events during the Nazi occupation.
‘As I remember, the story started at about six o’clock in the morning on the fourteenth of September, 1943…’
All her life 37-year-old London-born Angie has been intrigued by her mother’s secret past. While planning her wedding she feels she must visit the remote Cretan village her mother grew up in, despite her objections.
Unbeknownst to Angie her elderly grandmother, Maria, still lives there, and is dying. She wants to unburden herself of the terrible story that she will otherwise take to the grave.
It’s the story of the German occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it’s the story of bitter secrets that broke the family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.
If you loved Victoria Hislop’s THE ISLAND and the novels of Santa Montefiore and Rosanna Ley, you will fall completely in love with this novel.
‘Write this then,’ Maria said to Voula. ‘I have wanted to send you a letter for a long time. I hoped to see you before I die, but I realise our meeting is unlikely.’
‘Oh, face the facts, Voula; I’m on my way out. Let’s get on with the letter before the Angel Gabriel replaces you as my personal assistant.’
Voula scratched her lip and nodded.
‘Now, write this, Voula: Angelika, please tell your mother I have never stopped loving her. Put your arms around her and kiss her from me. Poppy is in my heart. Say that I am sorry. Truly sorry. If I could have changed things, I would.’
‘Mama, how do we know Angelika reads Greek?’
‘We have to trust Poppy will have taught her. Anyway, we can ask Demitri to translate for us. What shall we write next? Perhaps something about Angelika’s father.’ Maria tilted her head to one side. ‘Yeorgo,’ she sighed. ‘Wasn’t he a beautiful man, Voula?’ Silent for a moment, Maria’s eyes glazed. ‘That’s another difficult part. I wonder if Angelika knows the.’
At the kitchen table, Voula sat opposite Maria and opened the exercise book. ‘It’s been a week and we’re no further, Mama. Perhaps we should write To Be Continued on the bottom and post it, just in case…’ Their eyes met.
Maria shook her head. ‘The letter to Poppy wasn’t too difficult, but I’m struggling with what to say to Angelika. Let’s keep working on it. I don’t want it posted until it’s perfect, Voula, but it isn’t as easy as I thought. What do you think we should write?’
‘Tell her about her aunts, uncles and cousins. What about me and my children and grandchildren?’ Voula said.
‘No, I want it to be something important.’ Their eyes met again. A cockerel crowed outside the door. ‘Tut, you know what I mean, Voula. Considering I was a teacher, I shouldn’t find a simple letter so difficult. Make us a coffee and then we’ll sit in the garden and crochet.’
They settled in the shade of an ancient olive tree, opposite the cottage door. Maria gazed down, over the village rooftops and the bell tower of the church of Agios Yeorgios. Her eyes followed the local bus, miniature in the distance, traveling the pale, dusty road beyond the village. Barely two cars wide, the road snaked between silver-green olive groves, descending to the beach and fishing village of Arvi. The sound of a tootling horn drifted up as the bus neared a bend. The Arvi gorge, clearly visible, was a deep slash in the red rock. From the shear-sided canyon, griffon vultures launched off their narrow ledges to circle up, over Amiras, on the thermals.
The view drew her in, so peaceful and calm, showing no hint of the horrors Maria had witnessed from under that very tree, long ago. She sniffed the air and caught the scent of burning wood, lamb, and rosemary. Chops on someone’s BBQ. The memory of a fire, her darling boys in mortal danger and the worst day of her life hit her with such startling clarity she whimpered.
Voula looked up from her crocheting. ‘Are you all right, Mama?’
Maria huffed. ‘Why shouldn’t I be? Let’s keep thinking about the letter.’
Patricia Wilson lives in the village of Amiras in Crete where the book is set. She was inspired to write when she unearthed a machine gun in her garden – one used in the events that unfolded in September 1943, and much of the novel is based on real stories told to her by the oldest women of Amiras. Women who’ve never spoken of their experiences before. This is her debut novel. #IslandofSecrets