A dramatic and moving story set in the same world as the international bestseller The Island from the celebrated novelist Victoria Hislop.
The absorbing story of the Cretan village of Plaka and the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony – is told to us by Maria Petrakis, one of the children in the original version of The Island. She tells us of the ancient and misunderstood disease of leprosy, exploring the themes of stigma, shame and the treatment of those who are different, which are as relevant for children as adults. Gill Smith’s rich, full-colour illustrations will transport the reader to the timeless and beautiful Greek landscape and Mediterranean seascape.
“The idea came out of a conversation with some school teachers in Crete.” said Victoria “They commented that there were so many themes in the story that were as relevant to children as to adults but felt that the original novel was a little too grown-up for many of them. I realised that much of the book is actually about children and their experiences of stigma and loss, so this has been a wonderful experience for me, to look at things through their eyes. Writing for children requires a whole different set of skills and I hope they will enjoy reading it.”
Maria’s Island is published by Walker Books in June 2021.
Britain’s Favourite Novel
Victoria was among the contributors to “Britain’s Favourite Novel” on Sunday December 27th on Channel 5 which explored the nation’s favourite novels as voted for by the public, from Jane Austen to Zadie Smith.
One August Night
“Fans of The Island will love this Fifties-set sequel which follows some characters in the original blockbuster. […] This dramatic, absorbing and good-natured novel abounds with Greek island atmosphere.”
Wendy Holden, Dail Mail
One August Night is a sequel to Victoria Hislop’s 2005 saga The Island and is set in the Cretan town of Plaka and the offshore leper colony of Spinalonga. The title refers to August 25, 1957. As Plaka’s residents celebrate the closure of Spinalonga after the discovery of a cure for leprosy, a gunshot rings out. The murder victim is the wealthy, glamorous young mother Anna Vandoulakis.
This slender, less sprawling, episodic sequel follows the fallout from that event. Fans of its predecessor, bracing themselves for a bleak British lockdown winter, will appreciate a return to Hislop’s thyme-scented, Aegean-lapped fictional Greece.
Patricia Nicol, Sunday Times
“Hislop expertly portrays the warmth of Greece and its people, delving into the long and complicated history of a fascinating country while spinning a family saga that her fans will devour. A beautifully written story that will enchant the reader.”
“…while Hislop doesn’t indulge in unnecessary adjectives, she is hot on the unexpected detail that anchors her characters firmly in time and place and it is the strength of her research which gives her novel such credibility. After his flight from Crete, Manilos ends up in Piraeus where he joins a boatyard crew, and Hislop makes us feel the calluses building on his hands as he blowtorches the paint away from the ship’s hull; there is the wonder that Andros feels when he has the first cocktail of his life, a dry martini at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens. The best scene in the book is where Maria uses her status as a one-time leper to confound a prison guard who has sexually assaulted her. Some of the minor characters, such as the vengeful wife who tries to murder Manilos’s friend, Stavros, spring fully formed off the page like Athena from the head of Zeus. […] It is hard to think of any other anglophone writer who are so culturally fluent that they can write about another country’s history without giving unwitting offence.
Daisy Goodwin, Catholic Herald
Victoria in the Media
A few of my favourite (Greek) Things…