Victoria Hislop is a writer and journalist and lives in Kent with her husband Ian, Private Eye editor and their two children. Her first novel, The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback chart for eight consecutive weeks and has sold over a million copies. Victoria was named Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007. She has written a number of short stories and many of her novels are based in Greece which is a country that she loves. The family has a second home in Crete.
The Island – 2005
This novel tells the story of Alexis Fielding, a 25 year old on the cusp of a life-changing decision. Alexis knows little or nothing about her family’s past and has always resented her mother for refusing to discuss it. She knows only that her mother, Sofia, grew up in Plaka, before moving to London. Making her first visit to Crete to see the village where her mother was born, Alexis discovers that the village faces the small, now deserted island of Spinalonga, which, she is shocked and surprised to learn was Greece’s leper colony for much of the 20th century. It is here that Alexis meets an old friend of her mother’s, Fotini, who is prepared to tell her for the first time the whole tragic story of her family. It is the story which Sofia has spent her life concealing – the story of Eleni, her grandmother and of a family torn apart by tragedy, war and passion. Eleni discovers how intimately she is connected with the island and with the horror and pity of the leper colony and learns that the secrets of the past have the power to change the future.
The Return – 2008
Beneath the majestic towers of the Alhambra, Granada’s cobbled streets resonate with music and secrets. Sonia Cameron knows nothing of the city’s shocking past; she is here to dance, but in a quiet café, a chance conversation and an intriguing collection of old photographs draw her into the extraordinary tale of Spain’s devastating civil war.
Seventy years earlier, the café was home to the close-knit Ramírez family. In 1936, an army coup led by Franco shattered the country’s fragile peace and in the heart of Granada the family witnessed the worst atrocities of conflict. Divided by politics and tragedy, everyone must take a side, fighting a personal battle as Spain rips itself apart.
The Thread – 2011
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a devastating fire sweeps through the thriving Greek city where Christians, Jews and Muslims live side by side. Five years later, Katerina Sarafoglou’s home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she flees across the sea to an unknown destination in Greece. Soon her life will become entwined with Dimitri’s and with the story of the city itself, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people.
Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents’ life story for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of the people who were forced to leave. Should he become their next custodian and make this city his home?
The Sunrise – 2014
In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean – a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple are about to open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the Özkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island, but beneath the city’s façade of glamour and success, tension is building.
When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story.