Those Who Are Loved

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

In an apartment in Athens Themis is celebrating her birthday with another eighteen people, her children and grandchildren. At the end of the day only two remain to help clear up,her granddaughter Popi who lives close by and her American grandson Nikos.
Popi talks about the crisis Greece is going through and tells her grandmother she cooks too much food and shouldn't be so wasteful.
Listening to her naive granddaughter's words Themis decides to leave both of them with a legacy, the story of her life, something she has never told anyone else. It begins with her pointing out the corner across the street where her childhood friend dropped dead of starvation.

If that's not enough to make you pick up and read this book I'll eat my hat.
Like all  books by Victoria Hislop this one is a traumatic read. 
Themis takes us back to her very young childhood in the 1930's. She lives through an earthquake, Italian and German occupation and civil war. 
In the little apartment where her and her brothers and sister lived with their grandmother arguments were plenty with siblings supporting opposite sides in the civil war. As they each leave home to support their cause Themis finds herself being thrown from one disaster to another.

I think what made this book so readable is I felt I was reading a true story. Although this is fiction built around true events it's  probably the story of so many many people living in Greece at that time. I found it quite unbearable to read how cruel ordinary everyday people can be to each other in the name of war. No one was safe. Neighbour against neighbour, brother against brother and sometimes even father against son. All fighting for what they believe in and no one winning.
Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. Lots of research has gone into this book. Victoria Hislop makes history come alive especially for those who found it boring at school. She is my favourite writer. Don't miss this book.

This will be posted on my book blog and other review sites on publication day.
www.bookswithwineandchocolate.blogspot.co.uk
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Themis lives with her grandmother, her two brothers and her sister in an apartment on the outskirts of Athens. Her mother is hospitalised and her father away from his homeland, often for ages at a time on the high seas. Her two brothers are always arguing about the politics of Greece and her sister is desperate to lead another life, as is Themis. Her life is lived through turbulent and traumatic times of fear and uncertainty, but none as terrifying as the German occupation of Greece in 1941 which becomes a flare point of what is to come. This is the story of her family and her life and what an extraordinary life it is.
Her conscience leads her to join the communist fighters in the aftermath of the dreaded Occupation and when Civil War breaks out and then the country is ruled by a military dictatorship, the frailty of the country worsens even more. Themis herself is eventually captured and imprisoned first on the dreaded island of Makronisos and then later still she is taken to Trikeri. Her life is in turmoil, Greeks fighting each other and she in mortal danger facing the enemy. When she is released and makes her way back in her family home, she returns both a secret heroine and a secret bandit, having to measure everything she does and says. Her story is about love and loss, fighting for her beliefs and of her bravery and determination. She witnesses the most appalling acts imaginable and her story tells of times when Greece stood on the very precipice of death verses life.
She marries and rears her lovely family, keeping private her political opinions to keep herself safe, until at last she reveals her amazing story to her visiting grandson Nikos and his Popi. The facts of this story are true and the events in history have been meticulously researched, but the characters are skilfully woven into the tempestuous timeframe of recent Greek history in this wonderful, intelligent and evocative novel. Victoria Hislop is an authority in all things ‘Greek’ and is passionate about her storytelling. Her novels are centred on one particular region of Greece and there her stories are woven into a vivid and authentic narrative. The complexity and explosive nature of the times are vivid and relatable, the characters deftly created and given their lives through superb and imaginative storytelling.  I received this book through my membership of NetGalley and from publisher Review in return for an honest review. Thank you most sincerely for my copy. I recommend it as an exciting and fast paced read full of reality and an education itself for those who love historical fiction at its very best or interesting, well informed and enjoyable family sagas.
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Victoria Hislop’s novels are always well researched and concentrate on a particular period in history.
‘Those Who Are Loved’ is about Greek history and covers the time from the 1930s onwards so the reader is transported from WW2 right through the Greek Civil  War and the military junta up until the present day.
I knew little about the history of modern Greece so this story truly educated me but it was not like reading a dry history book. The novel  actually made me feel as if I was living in those times.
Themis is an old lady at the start of the book, living in Athens in the same flat she has inhabited all her life. She is celebrating her birthday with four generations of her  family and she decides to tell her grandchildren American Nikos and Greek  Popi her life story.
Themis has had an eventful life growing up when Greece was invaded by the Nazis and then when the country was thrust into a savage Civil War which set neighbour against neighbour.
Themis’  siblings shared different political views. She and her brother Panos decide to fight for the Communists whilst her other brother and sister are far more right wing and cannot understand Themis’ and Panos’s opinions. . This really splits the family and their grandmother Kyria who is bringing them up does all she can to keep the peace as the siblings constantly argue.
One would imagine that this would be common during those times with families taking different sides in the war.  Politics plays such a major role in all their lives and affects them deeply, particularly as people begin to die and many are badly injured. Massacres in WW2 are described in detail and the violence continues straight after with the Civil War- a situation which is terrible to contemplate and so ironic as the Nazis are gone but now Greeks are killing their own people.
The author goes into great detail about the Civil  War and Themis’ imprisonment and torture afterwards. She also mentions the constant fear she has of being rearrested, even many years later under the right wing military government.
I found this a fascinating read as I knew so little about this subject. However it was more than a history book as Victoria Hislop’s characters truly come alive and make the book a compelling read.
I really  liked Themis, the strong female lead who eventually becomes a matriarch, looking after her family, avoiding any mention of her life as a soldier when she was a young woman. She fears her Communist background could come back to haunt her so tells her children nothing of her early life.
In the end it is a relief for her to reveal all to her grandchildren. 
Her brother  Thanasis, who starts the novel as rather unpleasant , gradually mellows as the book moves along and I ended up empathising with him by the end of the novel.
This is an enjoyable read which also educates. A great read and highly recommended.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This is another of Victoria Hislop's well researched and knowledgable lessons in twentieth century Greek History. The period covered is from 1930s onwards and takes in the second world war, civil strife and the military junta. History is contextualised by being told through the eyes of Themis, once the youngest of four siblings with differing ideals, now the matriarch of the family and still living in the same Athenian flat that is a constant throughout her story. This was a rich and absorbing read from which has given me a real sense of the challenges faced by ordinary people in Greece during this period in their history.....and it continues!
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  This book was set in Greece during the second world war and is set in 2 time zones.  A really great powerful read by an author who never fails to amaze me.
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Set in two time periods we follow the life of Themis and her family. We meet her today as she is an old woman telling her life story to two of her grandchildren. In the past we follow Themsis as she grows up in the turmoil of Greece during and after WWII. Her family are bitterly divided over politics and Themsis struggles to hold true to her beliefs.

This is an excellent book in many ways. I knew very little about the struggles in Greece, the occupation by the Nazis and the later struggles with communism. There is a lot of detail – as I would expect from a book by Victoria Hislop – and the background was excellent. I struggled a little as I am not a big fan of political history. I was pleased to learn about this period of history but I wasn’t that interested in the intricacies of the politics. That doesn’t detract from the excellent writing in the book, it is just a personal preference.

I enjoyed the story of Themis. She is a strong woman who takes a while to find what she truly believes. She is not adverse to realising that despite having chosen a particular side in the civil war, they could also be wrong at times. She is also not afraid to make decisions based on what is best for the people she loves and not necessarily holding true to her beliefs. There are many people who shape Themis’ life – her friend Fotini, her grandmother, her abandonment by her parents and her strong willed brothers who are very vocal about their opposing views. The characterisation is excellent.

The standard of writing, plot structure and character development are excellent. The historical research is obviously very thorough. These are all the things I expect from a book by Victoria Hislop. It is just unfortunate that I wasn’t so interested in the politics and found that side a little much in places.

As always I shall keep an eye out for the next book by this author. If you haven’t read any of hers before then I can recommend any of her books but I have a particular soft spot for “The Island”.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop was an atmospheric book set in Greece during the Second World War and the terrible toll in took on the Islands inhabitants.
This is the story of Themis and her family and how they tried to survive.
Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I never enjoyed historical fiction that was until I discovered The Island and ever since I have delighted in Victoria Hislop's books ever since. As soon as this book appeared on Netgalley I could not resist and it instantly moved to the top of my TBR list. The story of Themis instantly transported me to wartime Greece. It is a slow burner while you get your head round the politics and different viewpoints of that time. However once the scene is set the human element takes over and Themis and her family are subjected to the attrocities of that time. When Themis is trapped in a situation she can see no way out of the pages just turned themselves and I could not wait to see if things would turn right. As in all of Hislop's books the female protagonist does not get an easy ride of things but that is what makes her books so readable. I read her books too quickly so the wait for the next seems endless!
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