My Greek Books
Greek books – books by Greek authors and other books set in Greece – my bookcases are loaded with them. I can’t get enough. With great joy I discover. It’s always delightful to read subsequent books by the same author. For more than a decade, I’ve been reviewing books and interviewing authors. You can find reviews on this blog, and past reviews in the WindyCity Greek archives.
People always ask me for book recommendations. They always want to know what I’m reading. Books that takes us away to Greece, and wonderful stories transport us. Something we need during this time of shelter-in-place.
Keep going to find out what I’ve been reading this past month.
A Tuscan Night by Kostas Krommydas
Independently Published, 2020
This is the 4th of the 5 novels by Kostas Krommydas translated to English that I have read. The author is also a well-known actor. Likely you saw him as the police superintendent on ‘The Durrells’. Kostas has the innate ability to take a real-life story and render it into a stirring novel. A Tuscan Night is no exception.
Ismene, a young professional, living in Northern Greece, is set to marry Chris. On her wedding day, she experiences some strange symptoms. During the ceremony, she collapses. When she’s diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, she sees things in a different light. Maybe Chris isn’t right for her? Has she made the right career choices? Perhaps she’s never truly lived. Her illness takes her in different directions – ones only dreamed; others never considered. She travels to Tuscany, on her own. There are things she needs to do. She meets new people, and for the first time, feels like her own person, in control of her destiny. In a way, she’s never felt more alive. There, she meets Felipe. He’s very attractive, but not her usual “type”. They have fun together, but she doesn’t reveal her secret. As they grow closer, she worries she’ll hurt him. She returns to Greece, only leaving a good-bye note.
She immediately regrets the decision, but what can she do? She doesn’t know how to find him. Their love is stronger than anything they’d ever experienced of hoped for in life. They pine for each other. Is it possible to find each other, and if so, can they reunite in time?
This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. There were a couple of instances when I shouted (yes, audibly), ‘NO!!”. I sobbed at the end. Kostas Krommydas knows how to hit those heart strings. His work is cinematic – you can see the movie vividly in your mind. This story just might change your life. It’s a story you won’t soon forget.
More Books by Kostas Krommydas
The Gold Letter by Lena Manta
Amazon Crossing, 2019
This is the 2nd of Lena Manta’s books I’ve read. She’s one of the best-selling authors in Greece today. Each takes a looks back to a difficult time in Greek history.
The Gold Letter tells the story of Fenia, an only child with a troubled past. She’s summoned to Athens following her estranged grandfather’s death to claim her inheritance. Reluctant, she returns to her roots. Among her first visitors is her mother’s jealous, conniving sister who will stop at nothing to take back the home she believes is rightfully hers. Her mother’s beloved cousin Melpo arrives just in time to save Fenia from her manipulative aunt. Melpo also reveals the secrets of her family’s past, locked away and hinted to in some remaining love letters found in the floorboards. Their story points back to their roots in Constantinople. A family of merchants eventually forced from their city, they end up in Athens. A generation later, secrets confront them there, when fate draws together families linked by heartbreak and betrayal. Fenia not only discovers the family she never knew, but also their tumultuous history. These revelations bring answers to questions, but can they free her to forge her own future with a family and a real place to call home?
Full of history, intrigue, family secrets, and more, A Gold Letter is a captivating story about fate, family bonds, and what ties us together. Lena Manta skillfully weaves another tale of family struggles, a quest for answers, and a search for oneself. Don’t miss it.
More Books by Lena Manta
I reviewed The House by the River in WindyCity Greek’s Summer Reading Guide 2018. I believe that to date, these are the only two of her books translated into English, both by Gail Holst-Warhaft.
Return to Turtle Beach by Richard Clark
Independently Published, 2020
Richard Clark is back with his 2nd novel, Return to Turtle Beach.
When Popi’s parents split up, her mother takes a job in England. She leaves her native Crete, her father, all she’s ever known. Her mom works as a nurse and they have a nice quiet life. When Popi learns of her father’s death, she returns to the island. She’s inherited her father’s home and a family she barely remembers. Her aunt and uncle help her through the loss and acquaint with the father knows only from distant memories. She feels the pull of her native land and wonders if this is where she’s meant to be. A skilled artisan, her father handcrafted wooden boats. Almost a lost art, his final, unfinished work sits in their garden, a memory of all that’s lost. When Popi decides to finish the boat in her father’s memory and start a business hosting boat tours, everything is turned upside down. The secrets of her parents’ split and her father’s fate come to light. When she thinks she may have found her destiny, her happiness and her plans are threatened. Is she meant to stay in Crete?
Once again, we see and feel Richard Clark’s love for Crete, now his second home. He lovingly portrays the island in his work. Richard describes the boat making and sailing in such detail, you’ll wonder if he is a master craftsman or avid sailor himself. Return to Turtle Beach is a heartwarming story that will transport you to the enchanting island of Crete. You may start to imagine what life would be like if you moved to a captivating and storied isle. Just released, this is one to definitely add this one to your list.
More Books by Richard Clark
You may know Richard from his Greek travelogues, or from his best-selling debut novel, The Lost Lyra. I reviewed it in WindyCity Greek’s Summer Issue 2019.
Check out his travelogues: Eastern Crete – A Notebook (2018), More Hidden Crete (2017), Hidden Crete – A Notebook (2016), Greek Islands Anthology (2014), Corfu – A Notebook (2014), Rhodes – A Notebook (2013), and more.
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My Greek Books – April Edition
Well, that’s it for this month’s edition of My Greek Books! I also read How Greek is Your Love? by Marjory McGinn and Love is What You Bake of It by Effie Kammenou. Click on the titles to learn about those books and their authors. I’ll see you next month with more of My Greek Books! Stay well!
Check out some of my book reviews in the archives of WindyCity Greek magazine. Click here.
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