The Island by Victoria Hislop: A Short Post

I have been struggling to write posts recently. I haven’t been able to settle down to writing after finishing a book, either because I’m too eager to read the next book, or like Heavenali I’ve been so distracted and mithered by other things going on in my life, mostly minor that shouldn’t really bother me, but do, that I am finding it hard to concentrate on writing.

So, that is why I haven’t written about a number of books I read earlier this year. Some of them are books that qualify for the Wanderlust Bingo CardThe Island by Victoria Hislop, The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien, The Night of the Mi’raj by Zoë Ferraris and Coffin Road by Peter May. These aren’t the only books I’ve read that need to write about, but it’s a start.

The first one I’m writing about is The Island by Victoria Hislop, her debut novel and one of my TBRs. It’s been on my bookshelves for years and I did start reading it soon after buying it, but I didn’t get very far and put it back on my bookshelves. Since then I’ve read three other books by Victoria Hislop and enjoyed them so I decided to try it again, especially as it fills the Island Square (set in Greece) on the Wanderlust Bingo card. I began reading it in August, when I took it away with me, visiting family, but didn’t find much time to read it and had to set it to one side. After I returned home I went on to read other books until October when I picked it up once more.

It is historical fiction set in Plaka on the island of Crete and in Spinalonga, a tiny, deserted island just off the coast of Plaka. I wasn’t very sure I would like it when I read the first chapter about Alexis Fielding longing to find out about her mother’s past. Sofia had never told her anything about it and all that Alexis knew was that Sofia had grown up in Plaka, a small Cretan village before moving to London. She gave Alexis a letter to take to an old friend, Fotini, promising that through her she will learn more. And once Fotini entered the story I was hooked as she told what had happened to Sophia’s grandmother, Eleni and her daughters, Anna and Maria after Eleni caught leprosy and was sent to live on Spinalonga.

Beginning before the Second World War the story moved between Plaka and Spinalonga and I loved all the details of Elena’s life on Spinalonga, but then when the narrative moved on to describing her daughters’ lives I began to lose interest. Instead of a fascinating historical novel about leprosy it changed into a historical romance, which I didn’t enjoy as much as the earlier part of the book. Overall, I think it’s too long and drawn out, and the ending is a bit too neat. So I’m giving this book 4*, combining 5* for Eleni’s story and 2-5* for both the beginning and the ending.

I’m hoping to write similar short posts for the other three books.

12 thoughts on “The Island by Victoria Hislop: A Short Post

  1. I can sympathise with your struggle to find the enthusiasm for writing book reviews, I’m having similar issues too. Still have some books I read in 2021 that haven’t been written up.

    It’s years since I read The Island but like you I found the interest I had wasn’t sustained right through to the end. I did try reading another of her books but it didn’t grab me in the same way

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  2. Thanks for your comment – I’m glad I’m not the only one. I have this problem every now and then and I’ve just checked my 2021 list of books read – there are loads of books I haven’t reviewed, especially in December. I blame that on Christmas!


  3. I have times like that as well where I keep putting off writing book reviews. In fact, I have a number of books I still need to write reviews for. But I’ll sit down to try to get caught up with the ones I still need to write and think I might try to give it a go and then don’t. So you are not alone. 🙂

    I loved the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Hobbit. My daughter has been working through the series for the first time and is now on Return of the King. She is loving them as well. We are watching the movies with her as she finishes up a book. Very fun!

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  4. I think we all have times, Margaret, when we struggle to concentrate. There’s so much going on in the world right now, and there are always those life distractions, too. You’re not alone. As for The Island, I know what you mean about certain parts of a book being better than others. For me, anyway, it’s especially hard if the end is disappointing. At any rate, I’m glad you found a lot to like about it.

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  5. I just did a quick count, I’ve only written 6 stand alone reviews in 2022, whereas I’ve read around 50 books. My rule is, if I’m inspired to write a review I do it, otherwise not. The rest of the books are mentioned in mini-reviews, wrap-ups or not at all. Do you feel, you have to write about all the books you read? In any case, I look forward to your view on Coffin Road, which I really enjoyed.

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    1. Thanks, Stargazer – I can see that I’ve caused my problem myself as I began my blog with the intention to write something even if it’s just a few words about each book I read – and I’m finding it impossible. I shall try your approach and write when I’m inspired to write and not worry about the rest. Although I do feel I have to write about NetGalley books – but I am cutting back on requesting any more.

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  6. I’ve been struggling with reviews this year too. I suspect we’re all tired of too much happening in the world – I am anyway! Not sure this one appeals since I’d be disappointed by the romance aspects too, but it’s certainly a good fit for the Island box!

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  7. weird isn’t it how sometimes we just can’t get ourselves going, that’s how I feel anyway and I’m surrounded by books I’ve finished but just can’t bring myself to write about, it’s been an odd year for my poor blog!

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    1. We live in such odd times, Jane – it does affect all of us in different ways. I’m like you I just can’t bring myself to write about most of the books I’ve read – it’s so depressing.

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