Next up on TWG today is a review of ‘Those Who Are Loved’ by Victoria Hislop. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for the blog tour invite and ARC – it’s a pleasure to be involved in the tour today!
Athens 1941. 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.
What does TWG think?
‘Wow’, is all I can say to this one! How do you even begin to write a review for a novel like this one? If you are into your history, ‘Those Who Are Loved’ will be right up your street. What an intricately detailed, powerful novel this is.
Set in Greece, main character, Themis, tells the story of her life during the Second World War, and the devastation she, and many others, had to live through. I’m not clued up on my history regarding Greece, so it was a very bittersweet pleasure to learn more about what happened in the 1940’s over there, even though it was quite heartbreaking to read at times. It’s not that I was ignorant to the fact that the Nazi’s took over Greece, I had no idea as it’s a topic which isn’t given as much ‘airtime’ so to speak, as other historic events from that time.
Themis is a character and a half. She is one of a kind and a true gem whose life I had the honour of delving into. I cannot even begin to imagine just how many hours research, Victoria Hislop embarked on to get the details of the storyline up to scratch, but it is very clear that the author took to the task to ensure that the storyline was as factually correct as possible.
‘Those Who Are Loved’ is a very deep, atmospheric read, that is full of emotion and incredibly complex due to the political and historical premise behind the storyline. This book blew my mind, and I can honestly say that Victoria Hislop has set the bar incredibly high with this novel. A beautiful, compelling, highly atmospheric read which I was able to sink my teeth into and forget my surroundings – perfect.