If you have read any of my earlier posts or follow me on Instagram, you will know how excited I was about this new release from Victoria Hislop. She is one of my favourite writers and when this new book was released it looked like a very special novel, including photographs from all over Greece. The comments on the cover say that Hislops love of Greece fills every page and I have loved all of her previous novels for their locations, interesting characters and rich historical detail.
This book is ful of unusual images and postcards. It begins with Ellie, a young woman dissatisfied with her life, receiving lots of postcards from Geeece, from the mysterious A. Ellie decides to go to Greece to try and follow the postcards because she is drawn in by the beautiful images. On the day she is to leave a notebook arrives and as she travels she reads.
This is a great premise and it was without hesitation that I paid a little extra for this book (£13.99 paperback). However this book doesn’t really follow Ellie, we lose track of her for most of the book as we read the notebook with her. The book is filled with lots of short stories from around Greece, mysteries and myths, stories about the recent economic crisis, romance stories, every theme is covered. This works kind of like a travel guide of stories. It includes Hislops usual beautiful story telling and I felt as though I was seeing a secret Greece that I wouldn’t get to on a fortnights holiday.
While I really enjoyed this book, there is a small problem with it. The number of short stories had me pulled away from Ellie too long. I lost track of the wider story arch outside of the notebook and found myself struggling through the final few chapters, ready to move onto something with a more gripping plot. As a series of short stories this book works really well, but as a novel I was left a little (a little little) disappointed because there was no single character for me to get truly attached too. I think there should have been more dipping in and out of the notebook so that we could get to know more about Ellie and really lover her.
Still a lovely book with a quirky layout, something different that is perfect for this time of year and dreaming of better weather!