The acclaimed million-copy number one bestseller and winner of Richard & Judy's Summer Read 2006. Victoria Hislop tells a dramatic tale of four generations, illicit love, violence and leprosy, from the thirties, through the war, to the present day.
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.
Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion.
She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...
'A vivid, moving and absorbing tale'
'Victoria Hislop . . . brings dignity and tenderness to her novel about lives blighted by leprosy'
'Wonderful descriptions, strong characters and an intimate portrait of island existence'
Woman & Home
'War, tragedy and passion unfurl against a Mediterranean backdrop in this engrossing debut novel'
'Hislop's deep research, imagination and patent love of Crete creates a convincing portrait of times on the island'
'A page-turning tale that reminds us that love and life continue in even the most extraordinary of circumstances'
'A beautiful tale of enduring love and unthinking prejudice'
Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller and a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller.
Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, was a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and one of the biggest selling books of 2016.
Victoria's most recent novel, the poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved, was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine.
Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.
Victoria divides her time between England and Greece.