Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fiction
Published: October 27, 2011
Source: For review
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city, where Christians, Jews and Moslems live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will change for ever this city, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people. Five years later, young Katerina escapes to Greece when her home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she finds herself on a boat to an unknown destination. From that day the lives of Dimitri and Katerina become entwined, with each other and with the story of the city itself.
Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears the life story of his grandparents for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of people who have been forcibly driven from their beloved city. Should he become their new custodian? Should he stay or should he go.
This book opens in the modern era, and ends there, but the rest is all 1917 and forward. A young man is being told the story of his grandparents a and why they do not want to leave the city. Making this a mix of historical fiction and modern fiction.
It was a good story about the Katerina and Dimitri, but it was just as much a story about Greek modern history and especially then Thessaloniki history. Because they see so much since they live through it. Honestly I can’t even begin with all the twists and turns, war, politics and civil wars, it’s always there in the background as life goes on, as life always does.
If I first look at all of this because it has such a big impact on things. First they fight with Turkey which brings young Katerina to Greece from Smyrna, and all the Muslims have to leave Greece. Tragedy from the beginning. Then there is of course WWII which brings Greece into another turmoil and lots of fighting, and the chapters I found the hardest. The Germans come and then they send away the Jews to Poland. And they think everything will be ok while I scream do not go. But of course they go. I will never understand the cruelty of humans, and why some just stand by. But all these things brings such a reality and impact to this story.
The story of Katerina and Dimitri is one that is long in the making. We know they will end up together but the road there is long because of war and its impact on both of them. And Dimitri is rich, but with a troubled family life. Katerina is poor, but with a loving family. But something brings them together, I will let something be a secret. I do like both of them, and their friends and family. Since the books spans over a big portion of time there will be losses, heartache and sorrow, happiness and new paths to take, weaving it all to beautiful story that takes a hold of you.
It was a lovely portrait over a family and a city. I must say that a lot of things happened in Greece, and it does make it a rich settings for a story.
I read the book pretty fast because I wanted to know what would happen, and it would be a fiction book that I recommend.