Friday, 10 March 2017

Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson blog tour

If you love Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley, you will love this perfect beach read.

Can you escape your past in paradise?

'The story started at dawn on the fourteenth of September, 1943 . . .'

All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother's secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in.

Angie's estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms - it's time to unburden herself, and tell the story she'll otherwise take to her grave.

It's the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it's the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.

This wonderful novel will transport you to the shores of Crete and stay in your heart long after you turn the last page.

Patricia Wilson has stopped by with a guest post! 

 ‘the books that inspired Island of Secrets’ 

Patricia Wilson, Island of Secrets,,

The first book that inspired me to write, was an unpublished manuscript I read after my mother had passed away. Her memoir. The love story of a sixteen-year-old girl living in occupied Holland in World War Two. How she fell in love with a young English soldier from Liverpool (my father). I found the story in a bag, under a pile of bed sheets in the airing cupboard. Her struggle to marry the man she loved was a complete surprise to me. The story made me realise how little we know about our parents, and what a determined young woman my mother had been. One day I will write her story of quiet courage and adventure.

Quite soon after my mother’s death, I read Wild Swans by Jung Chang, 1991. The novel covered three generations of women, and I found their differences quite fascinating. Again, I realised how little we know about the lives of our mothers and grandmothers.

More recently, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin inspired me. A love story almost spanning a lifetime. Captain Corelli's Mandolin was released in 1994 by British writer, Louis de Berniéres. The story is set on the Greek island of Cephalonia in 1943. Berniéres story is based on senseless slaughter, during the island’s German occupation during WW2. However, in Berniéres novel, Italian soldiers are rounded up and murdered, not innocent village people.

Island of Secrets, is also set on a Greek island (Crete), also starting in 1943, but there the similarity ends.

When I unearthed a rusted machine gun, in my cottage garden in Crete, the local men began to tell me what had happened in that remote village of Amiras. Shocking! It took a while before the women came forward with their personal stories. Some spoke of the horrible local holocaust for the first time. So horrific were their tales, the old grandmothers did not want to burden their families with the terrible cruelty and suffering, which they ultimately managed to rise above. I researched. I do love research. Eventually, I discovered a document on the web recounting individual stories from that period and locality. Although I did not want to delve into the politics behind the story, I felt a need to confirm the facts for my own peace of mind.

When I found the last living member of the resident band of freedom fighters, his story confirmed there had been a political cover-up behind the tragedy. All was not as it seemed.

At the time, I was having Greek lessons in a local secondary school. When I arrived early, one day, the plump and jovial ‘dinner lady’ invited me to wait in her snacks room. After hearing about my interested in WW2, she brought her mother’s war medal and certificate of honour to show me. She told me stories of courageousness that, once again, had not been told outside the area of Viannos. This made me determined write about these brave and modest women.

And so, Island of Secrets was born.

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