Welcome to my stop on the One August Night blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 22/07/2021
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
CW: sexual assault, murder
Beloved author Victoria Hislop returns to Crete in this long-anticipated sequel to her multi-million-copy Number One bestseller, The Island.GoodReads
25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.
When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.
In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.
I read Hislop’s The Island back in 2012 when I was seventeen and I completely fell in love with the story and the characters (I even reviewed it way back then, too!). When I discovered that Hislop was returning to these characters after all this time I was so excited to jump straight back into the story. Although I was a little worried that it had been so long since I first read The Island, and that I would find it difficult to follow, I quickly realised these fears were unfounded as I was welcomed back to Crete.
Whilst One August Night is considerably shorter than The Island, there is still a lot to unpack in terms of plot and the complex familial relationships are still illustrated in the same beautiful detail of its predecessor. I really enjoyed the way the novel opens up with Anna and we get to see the family dynamics from her perspective. Compared to the rest of the family, and the characters we got to know in The Island, she was so different and felt like an outsider which was a great way to be reintroduced to the story. As well as Anna we also focus on Maria which I really enjoyed as she was one of my favourite characters in The Island. She was still as kind and compassionate as when we were first introduced and yet, Hislop still manages to expand on this through her actions that most other people would struggle to do if they were in her situation.
Although this novel is a sequel, it also stands up very well as a standalone story as even characters we have met previously are developed and built upon with very new situations and storylines. In fact, the characters were my favourite aspect of the novel – Hislop has a clear understanding of people as each of her characters are so believable and authentic that you would think that this is a memoir rather than a work of fiction. Through the characters, not only do we see more details about the story through the different perspectives but we’re also completely immersed in a culture that many of us may not be able to experience otherwise.
Overall, in a time where we are unable to travel, Hislop transports us to Crete with such authentic characters and vivid descriptions that you could practically feel the warmth caressing your face as you turn the pages. This is a novel well worth picking up regardless of whether you’ve read The Island or not.