Those Who Are Loved

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

An epic family saga in Greece, I was hooked from the description alone. A wonderful book that makes you think, brings many tears and is full of strong women. I can’t emphasise enough how good this book is. Victoria Hislop is amazing. You need to read this.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Victoria Hislop never disappoints and this book is no exception.
A family saga beginning with the German occupation of Greece and the subsequent civil war right through to the later end of the 20th century.
An engrossing story which I’d both a history lesson and social commentary on the land which most people go for their holiday.
It is a real eye opener to realise what  this hospitable nation had to under go to get where it is today and what cruelties people under went to live the life they do today.
A truly remarkable read.
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This novel is an epic saga of a family whose lives are inextricably interlaced with the turbulent history of modern Greece.

The main protagonist is the younger daughter Themis and the events in the novel are seen through her eyes. Interestingly, in Greek mythology, Themis is the personification of fairness and natural law. Her symbol – the scales of justice.

This is an engaging and engrossing tale – as we see the family swept along and torn apart by war, occupation and civil war. Themis’ older brother and sister, Thanassis and Margaretha are fervent right-wingers who readily embrace fascism, both native and foreign. When the Germans invade, they eagerly adapt to the new regime and its extreme ideology. The younger siblings, Panos and Themis, are totally opposed to this, becoming more radical as they engage with the Resistance and then the Communist uprising. Through the warring brothers and sisters, we see the great opposing ideologies of the twentieth century played out, and we witness the destruction of a family and a nation.

Themis, like her country, endures war and a bitter peace when she and those like her are savagely punished for their "crimes" and imprisoned on "islands of exile". It is a cruel and brutal regime. Many do not survive. Through her eyes from childhood to maturity, we see the plight of the Smyrna refugees, the discrimination they suffer, and the abject poverty war brings as the Nazi occupiers systematically strip Greece of food and fuel. In one winter alone, fifty thousand Athenians died of malnutrition and cold.

Hislop charts the history of modern Greece through the lives of her characters – from the harsh regimes of German and Greek fascists to the political oppression of the Colonels – until, at last, Themis reaches a time of reconciliation and civil accord. Victoria Hislop does this with great skill, painstakingly revealing this turmoil as it affects the lives of her characters, so this is never a dull treatise on a little known history, but always a vivid and real depiction of people’s lives, the only history that matters.

Themis lives on from youth to age, through hardship and imprisonment, forming loves and friendships on the way. She is Scarlett O’Hara with a conscience. Sensitive and intelligent, she absorbs the attributes of those she has loved and lost, proving the truth and wisdom of the title – a quotation from an elegy written by the Greek poet Ritsos, “Those who are loved/Shall never die.”

This is a profoundly moving and instructive book. Hislop is a good writer rather than a great one, and she cannot come close to the searing prose of Kazantzakis, but her handling of historical material, interwoven with colourful and engaging characters, is masterful and assured.

I think this is one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. It compelled my attention throughout its long story, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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Another masterpiece from Victoria Hislop who always seems to get to the heart of the characters as they confront the horror and deprivation suffered in the Greek civil war.
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A wonderfully engaging story set in wartime Greece. 

Renowned author Victoria Hislop returns to early to mid 20th century Greece to introduce us to the life of heroine Themis, who begins the story as a young woman and as her life story opens up we  follow her into her future as Greece struggles with the occupation of her country by Germans. Greece is split in two by politics and war and I wondered if the historic political details may make this book a touch difficult for me to follow. However I found it is superbly easy to engage with such a likeable protagonist as Themis and I slid into her life like a bath of warm olive oil, was drawn into her world, redolent with the aromas and arguments of Greek family life and swept along by the barrage of events occurring in what begins as a simple life and builds into one of remarkable heroism, determination and selfless compassion.

As I am part of the Blog tour for this book, I will wait until my blog post goes live before posting the remainder of my review online and will share my links at that point.
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I have always enjoyed Victoria Hislop's books, and this was not an exception. It has felt like a long wait for this new novel, and I can see why.  'Those That Are Loved' strikes a good balance between providing a lot of historic information and the story of one woman and her family living through the many challenges in Greece in the Twentieth Century.
I really liked the character of Themis. She is a strong and brave. She loves her family despite their political differences and their complicated history. She endures extreme hardship, but still has to potential to love.  I am sure there are many women in Greece who lived through the terror and hardship of occupation, civil war, and then a cruel dictatorship who must have many stories to tell. It felt like Themis was providing them with a voice. 
I knew about the Nazi occupation (largely thanks to Captain Corelli's Mandolin) but so much of the history was new to me. Themis is inspiring and an excellent female role model. 
For me this is a 4.5* review. 
Thank you to #NetGalley and Victoria Hislop. I really enjoyed #ThoseWhoAreLoved and I will recommend it.
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Victoria Hislop has always loved Greece - but unlike many authors who write summer reads set in sun-drenched locations, it's the country's history and its people which fascinates her. This time she looks at Greece's troubled 20th Century, focusing on bright, fair-minded Themis and her family - divided by extremism and war but still held together by love - and their grandmother's resourceful cooking skills.

As the dust settles on World War Two political divisions deepen and everyone is forced to pick a side - stand with the right wing authoritarians or fight for individual freedom and Themis makes a decision which will change her life forever. A sweeping story which unfolds over decades, Those Who Are Loved opens your eyes to Greece's history through characters you'll fall in love with.
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I had no idea of this part of Greeks history, The book is set before and during world war two up to more recent times. It is a family saga describing the struggles caused by civil unrest and the German occupation. The family is torn apart by different political allegiances and their consequences. I absolutely loved this book and have no hesitation in giving it 5*
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An amazing read. This story had me near to tears so many times. I did not know anything about this part of Greek history. There is so much heartache in this book but there is a lot of love as well. I love reading historical fiction and this book has obviously been very well researched. I was totally immersed in this book from the start and got totally caught up in everything that was happening to Themis and her family. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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An extremely powerful and beautiful novel, well researched and masterfully written. I hesitated before embarking on it, as I feared that it would be distressing and disturbing. It was indeed, but it was also immensely moving and positive. The power and strength of love lifts it from depressing to inspiring. The history is painstakingly researched and the characters magnificently drawn. Victoria Hislop writes thought provoking novels that will linger in the mind long after you turn the final page. It is a long time since I have been moved to tears by the written word in a novel. This book moved me profoundly, taught me about what was, for me, an unknown period of history, and filled me with a deep sense of hope. It is a must read.
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Those Who Are Loved is a powerful, compelling novel that immerses the reader in the life of Themis and her family, raised from early childhood by her matriarch grandmother. The novel steps back in time to Themis early childhood, living under Nazi occupation in Athens, but that is only the beginning of Themis story, and we follow her journey through adulthood, one where she will face many challenges, angry at her fellow Greeks who collaborated with the Nazis, she makes the life changing decision to fight alongside the communists during the civil war. This is a story of one ordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life. 

Rather like real life Themis story is one of heartbreak, joy, regrets, and the moments in life that will haunt her until her dying day. I felt I was living and breathing Themis’s story, although I didn’t agree with some of her choices and actions,  her story is an incredible one. It was interesting to see how a young timid Themis overshadowed by her older brothers and sisters grew into a feisty, resourceful and determined woman who showed great courage throughout her life. Although Themis story is fiction, it’s one built around true life events, I’m sure there are many Greeks who can relate to the atrocities Themis witnessed throughout her life. Victoria Hislop brings each character deftly to life, some like Themis will remain with you long after you reach the last page of this compelling novel. 

Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past, it’s obvious she has meticulously researched her subject, and thanks to her descriptive prose It’s easy to summon up images of a Greece that was once a country blighted by poverty and hardship, it’s people divided by politics. The author weaves an epic tale of family, adversary, and the difficulties faced by thousands of Greeks from 1941 onwards. This is definitely one for those who love historical fiction, or those who enjoy a rich in detail family sagas. Personally I found Those Who Are Loved a delightful and engrossing read. Highly recommended
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This is an epic story of war torn Greece, both World Wars and Civil wars, through the eyes of one woman.  The book starts at the time of the most recent financial crisis and the storyteller then reminisces, to the surprise of some of the younger generation.  As well as being a tale of a country finding it's own identity, this is about the struggle of women who want to be more than homemakers.  I was surprised and shocked at some of the events which are recounted, particularly starvation and senseless cruelty.  There was a bit too much politics for me, but otherwise a marvelous read.
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Thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review 
Having read all of this paddy's books was delighted  to get an early copy one once again was totally delighted I love how she can portray  the hard ship that Greece has gone through. this book has been extremely  well  researched  and delivers 100%. Can highly recommend
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Those Who Are Loved is the story of the German occupation of Greece, subsequently followed by civil war and military dictatorship. This book focuses on Themis, the youngest child in a family divided by politics. She eventually decides to fight for the Communists. The book spans forty years and thigh she is haunted by some of her actions, Themis is proud of what she achieved. Now with grandchildren of her own, she relives her last for them.

This book covers some very delicate subjects but it’s beautifully written and gives you a great insight into Greece’s past featuring a strong and heroic woman.

I’ve loved all of the author’s previous work and this is no exception. Thank you to NetGalley, Headline and the author for the chance to review.
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An epic novel covering Greece and its history.  I devoured it with joy, sadness and pleasure.  It enlightened me as to the history of Greece and to war and dictatorships with many parallels to today.

Highly recommended for those readers who loved The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.
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This is a cosy, gentle read. One of those where you curl up in an armchair with a cup of tea as you turn the pages. It's slow but interesting, covering a period in history I knew little about, from the point of view of a family and friends. Not brilliantly written but soft and comfy.
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This begins with a Grandmother telling her family history to 2 of her Grandchildren after the celebration of her 90th Birthday. It’s a fascinating tale of 2nd World War and post-war Greece – which so deserves to be known and told. Despite Hislop’s sometimes ‘simplified’ phrasing (which I wonder if she employs to reach a larger reading audience to her fascinating subject matter) this is a highly informative and ultimately uplifting book. 

Themis is married to Giorgos (who now suffers from dementia). She relates her life from her childhood in the 1930s in a grand, derelict house and the breakdown in her parents’ marriage leading to being brought up by their Great Grandmother. She has 3 siblings, who are divided by their political beliefs; how this plays out in the forthcoming years is disturbing and upsetting. There are extreme political situations I never realised were going on in Greece when I was growing up – through to the 1980s. 

I did feel the political situation described was too ‘black and white’ – ‘Communist or Nazi collaborator’, with nothing in between; as we all know there  are numerous shades of grey in between and not all people who were not Communists were working with the Nazis; however, it does keep the narrative easy to follow. Despite this simplification I feel this is a ‘must read’ for anyone who holidays there, or has an interest in Greece. I would consider it compelling holiday reading (but may be a bit on the depressing side if you’re used to a lighter content!) A very easy way, with compelling, lovely characters especially Themis herself, to learn about how British and US interference, with their fear of Communist influence, set Greece off to a terrible start at the end of the  Second World War and beyond.
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A very well written and researched book, full of details about the  history of Greece from before the second world war. I learnt a great number of things that I didn't know. The story itself was also very interesting and at times a positive page turner. The one fault, for me, was that I felt it was a little long and there was one large section in the middle, that I felt was the cause of this and I felt myself starting to loose interest. It soon picked up pace, however, and then kept me absorbed until the end.
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Unputdownable.  Victoria Hislop’s family epic of twentieth century Greece grips from first page to the last.  Timely history, superb storytelling and characters that live on beyond the page make this essential summer reading.
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This isn't my usual genre but having heard good things about the author's previous work I was interested in reading her new novel. 
This book takes place in Greece from the 1930s through to the present, telling the story of Themis and her family as they deal with internal and external conflict, fascism and communism and how this impacts their family and country.
Despite dealing with tough and often depressing situations this was a captivating read. Well written, and hard to put down, with interesting and complex characters and a story that lingers with you long after finishing.
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