Published by Bonnier Zaffre on April 13, 2023
Format: ARC, eBook
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I'll begin with the war, when everything changed for us. In 1943, our comfortable family life came to an abrupt end, thanks to Hitler.
During the Nazi occupation of Athens, Daphne, a young Greek Jewish artist, finds her life suddenly under threat. She's in love with her Austrian art teacher, and together they must risk it all to escape his cousin, an SS officer. Pursued across Greece, their journey leads them to the island of Corfu.
In 2023 Liverpool, as Daphne's 100th birthday approaches, she knows time is running out to share her story. Daphne tells Flora, her granddaughter, of a valuable piece of art from her youth. A masterpiece which bought her freedom but cost her everything she held dear.
Will Flora discover more than she expects as she explores the island her family took refuge on?
“An Island Promise” by Patricia Wilson is a captivating historical fiction novel that weaves together the complexities of war, love, art history, and family heritage. Set partly against the backdrop of Nazi occupied Greece during World War II, this novel takes readers on a journey of self-discovery and resilience.
The story follows Flora, a young woman with a passion for art history. Flora has been left devastated by the loss of her husband and takes an extended holiday visiting her grandmother in Corfu. Here Daphne shares with her details of her past, of the secrets that she’s kept and the sacrifices that she’s made
As Flora is immersed deeper into her grandmother’s history, she discovers secrets that Daphne had kept hidden for decades. Throughout the novel Daphne shares the harrowing experiences she and her fellow countrymen endured during the German occupation of Greece. The author masterfully describes the horrors of war, the sacrifices made by ordinary people, and the resilience of the human spirit.
The historical aspect of the novel is richly portrayed, depicting the beauty of Corfu’s landscapes, its rich cultural heritage, and the devastation brought upon by war. The author’s meticulous research is evident in the vivid descriptions of the island’s history and art, which add depth and authenticity to the story, the novel seamlessly integrates art history into the narrative, making it a treat for history and art enthusiasts alike.
At the heart of the novel is the bond between Flora and her grandmother, Daphne. Daphne’s character is portrayed with warmth, wisdom, and depth, and her relationship with Sophie is beautifully depicted. As Flora uncovers Daphne’s past, she gains a deeper understanding of her grandmother’s sacrifices and the choices she made during the war. The intergenerational connection between Daphne and Flora serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of family, legacy, and the enduring impact of history on our lives.
The author’s prose is evocative, transporting readers to the island of Corfu and immersing them in its rich culture and history. The pacing of the story is well-balanced, with the right blend of mystery, suspense, and emotion. The plot keeps readers engaged until the very end. The characters are well-drawn and relatable, each with their own unique struggles and motivations.
“An Island Promise” is a poignant and captivating tale of love, loss, and the power of family. Patricia Wilson has crafted a mesmerising novel that seamlessly weaves together historical fiction, art history, and family drama. Her vivid descriptions, well-researched historical details, and compelling characters make this novel a must-read for fans of historical fiction and those interested in World War II, Corfu, and art history. With its evocative storytelling and emotional depth, “An Island Promise” is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of family bonds.