The Summer of Secrets by Patricia Wilson

Today I pass the blog to Mandie who has a review of Patricia Wilson’s The Summer of Secrets. With thanks to Tracy Fenton for the tour invite and to publishers

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 26 May 2022
Publisher: Zaffre

About the Book

In this emotional novel based on Greece’s real history we follow three generations of one family, broken apart by secrets and war, as Olivia travels to the island of her mother’s birth to piece together a century’s worth of her family’s past.

On the Greek island of Castellorizo young Sofía must put her big dreams on hold to support her older sister Maria with her large family. But World War II is looming and while the idyllic island may seem far from harm at first, there are unspeakable dangers on the horizon – perils that will change the sisters’ lives forever . . .

Devastated by her divorce and the death of her dear mum, Olivia seeks solace on Castellorizo. Her Granny Sofía fled the beautiful Greek island during the war, but Olivia knows little else about her family’s history. The only link to the Island she has left is her elderly great-uncle George. As his memory begins to fail, Olivia feels her one chance at uncovering the truth about her grandmother start to slip away.

As a mother’s sacrifice echoes throughout the generations, will Olivia discover some things are best left in the past?

Mandie’s Thoughts

After the death of her mother Olivia decides now may be the perfect time to visit Castellorizo, the place where her mother was born. Her Great Uncle George is the only surviving relative she has that still has a connection to the Greek Island but due to his age his memory is fading, and Olivia is intrigued to find out what made her grandmother Sofia leave all those years ago.

The story is told through a dual timeline with the majority of it focusing around Sofia from the day she was born until the events that led her to leave the island once and for all. I was really intrigued by Sofia’s story, and it was interesting to learn more about the family history as Olivia connected with the residents that remembered her. Sofia was quite a headstrong character and although she was determined to follow her own dreams there was still the pull of the family, one she would do anything to protect even if it did mean putting her life on hold at times. Her story takes us through the war where the Island was taken over by the Italians and Greek was not allowed to be spoken. Despite this the family still managed to lead a happy life and it was only when they were forced to leave for the first time that they were touched by real tragedy that changed them forever.

I enjoyed seeing Olivia slowly connect with her family history and the people who lived on Castellorizo, many of them for generations but it was Sofia and her story that captured my imagination the most. It was also interesting to find out about the role the Greek Islands had in the war as this was not something I was aware of in the past. The author has managed to capture the true feeling of the island and given descriptions that transport you to the heart of the family and gives you characters that you become invested in.

This is going to be a great book for the summer and whilst it may not be the traditional romantic summer read there is still a love story at its heart mixed in with the tragedy and the secrets.

About the Author

Patricia Wilson was born in Liverpool, has lived on Crete and is now settled on Rhodes. She was first inspired to write when she unearthed a rusted machine gun in her garden – one used in the events that unfolded during World War II on the island of Crete. The now elderly women involved in those events told Patricia their story, and her celebrated debut Island of Secrets (150k copies sold) was the result.

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