About the book
Most are lured to the Greek islands for the beaming rays of the sun and the deliciously enticing turquoise blue water, not Holly she has gone there to find out her past, a past she has hidden in the darkest of places in her mind for many years. After a letter arrives telling her that she has a long-lost auntie, leaving her a house and answers to questions she has wanted to know but to scared to ask.
The island holds her past and maybe her future too?.
I was drawn to this story as it had the air of Victoria Hislop’s book The Island, with the story being set in the beautiful islands of Greece. That is the only comparisons since reading it, it stands out in its own merit. It’s a story that will have you gripped by the characters of the past and those in the present, with the secrets they hold.
It was an interesting story because it’s about family, we can all relate to issues and different relationships with family members, they are complex and that is an understatement for Holly. Families are a fragile yet strong thing, you love the strongest but can hurt each other more than anyone else can. In this case Jenny, Holly’s mother broke her sister’s heart causing a cosmic whole to open up and drag Holly into it with her.
I connected to Holly’s character, she was raw, had flaws of her own, she had been broken by her mother the way she passed away, I wanted to go into the pages and sit there and hug her so she wasn’t alone. The way Isabelle had written about Jenny Holly’s mother was so on point, you can picture her slowly sinking into this depressing, dark all-consuming life, Holly as a child sat by watching needing her happy mother back.
One of my favourite parts of the story was getting to know Holly’s mother Jenny and aunt Sandra. We see them as people not just memories, hearing them through their own words, memories and feelings. Yes they made mistakes but they were people with flaws, their mistakes didn’t define them as whole people. We got to see them as carefree, fun loving woman, who at one point loved life. They were more than the mistakes they made, this was a great message Isabelle got across throughout the story.
This story brings up an array of topics that are insightful and provoke thoughts in you to think about, they are poignant and life changing lessons. One lesson I liked that was learnt for Holly was by closing herself off and lying to others and never opening up her heart or mind, Holly was only hurting herself more. She never gave those around her the opportunity to show Holly that she was wrong. Not everyone will be horrified and run from her past like she has but will listen, hug and embrace what she had been through and be there for her.
I found it uplifting how Holly realised that she could still love her mother after all she did. she once was a loving mother along with a Holly we have the lesson of not holding on to the past mistakes we make, don’t let them fester in you to ruin your future. I was proud of Holly by the end of the story at how much she grew, she embraced her past and wouldn’t be like her mother and aunt she would forgive.
I liked how we saw how Holly changes as soon as she steps off the plane, though scared its like a weight of her shoulders the soon as she started to confront her past, instead of running from it. Her body knows Greece before her memory does, falling in love with the island that was once her home.
One of my favourite characters was Aiden, the handsome vet, he is a complex character as much as Holly, he has past issues himself he needs to deal with and helping Holly on her quest helps him more than she realises. Guarded himself to his own mother from their past, their adventure heals them both with his trusty slobbering sidekick of a dog called Phelan.
It was exciting going on their adventures as they trekked around Greece looking for the answers, finding themselves along the way. On their quest we see a different Holly, she isn’t closed up because from the first moment she met Aiden there was an ease, she didn’t feel she need the armour she used for everyone else it was a different side of Holly we didn’t see before. She’s able to be vulnerable, it’s as if he sees into her core and that doesn’t scare Holly for one time in her life and that is beautiful to see.
I felt so sorry for Rupert Holly’s boyfriend a sweet guy who did everything he could to make Holly happy when its not meant to be, it just isn’t she never could be herself with him no matter how much he tried good love him he was such a good guy.
I loved the passion the characters have the island, it was a beautiful setting for a heart-breaking but also uplifting story. Even the beauty of Zakynthos holds devastating memories for residents past and present, they don’t hold that against the Island quit the opposite. The island holds their heart, it heals them, Its their home, a place they will never leave.
I too fell for the islands beauty, I want to walk on the beaches with the sand under a my feet, bath in the clear blue water, visit every place that Holly and Aiden went to and look up at the glistening stars above the water. This story has enticed me to visit a country I have never thought about going to before.
Isabelle Broom’s first book has moved me, touched my heart, it was gripping, it pulled you into the pages. I already have her other two book A Year And A Day and Then Now Always on my bookshelf ready to be devoured, reviews coming.
Peanut (Laura Gilmore) xx