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.”
Praise for Maria’s Island
The tale is narrated by Maria, one of the children in Hislop’s novel The Island, from which this engrossing yarn is skillfully adapted for younger readers.
― The Daily Telegraph
I loved this book because it was so interesting to learn about the disease, but also to realise that if you are courageous like Maria even illness does not have to hold you back.
― Books Up North
I adored this book. It is a real treasure. But please, have the box of tissues to hand. There will be tears, both of sadness and joy.
― Fallen Star Stories
I picked this book up as soon as it arrived and couldn’t put it down. My favourite things were the Greek setting and the history in the story, and I loved that the character was called Anna – best name ever! I didn’t know much about this story before I read it and enjoyed finding out about the adventures. I would recommend it to my friends. I liked the illustrations too.
— Anna, Age 11 ― Toppsta
“…a powerful story about love, stigma and hope.”
– Mini Travellers
Victoria Hislop selects the music she cherishes and would like to bestow to future generations for Inheritance Tracks on BBC Radio 4
One August Night
Beloved author Victoria Hislop returns to Crete in this long-anticipated sequel to her multi-million-copy Number One bestseller, The Island.
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.
Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.
“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.”
A few of my favourite (Greek) Things…