Olivia is distracting herself from her divorce and the death of her mother by writing a cook book based on her Greek heritage. Encouraged by her great uncle George, she travels to the island of Castellorizo to discover her family’s past…
The Summer of Secrets is a dual timeline novel set mostly on the Greek island of Castellorizo. It is written from Olivia’s first person narrative in the present day and various third person perspectives in the past.
Maria, Sofia and George are three siblings living in the shadow of war. Their island suffers natural tragedies such as earthquakes as well as the territorial disputes of WW2. The close knit family is huge with some big characters. There is plenty of drama as well as emotion as the plot develops.
In the present day, Olivia has the chance for romance but also a rival claimant for the family’s house. She is fearful for her uncle’s health and they have a lovely relationship but he is also the last link to her late mum. George is greatly affected by the memories of the past which have haunted him for decades.
There is a lot of build up to the event that divided the Konstantinidis family but I felt that the ending was a little rushed. In my opinion, there was scope to find out more about the siblings in the intervening years. However, this could be a great excuse for a sequel!
The setting and history are vividly brought to life. There is a good mix of carefully researched detail alongside the human emotions and reactions to events. The patriarchal values that are espoused in the past timeline contrasted with Olivia and George’s freedoms in the present.
The Summer of Secrets was an emotional novel, packed with historical and cultural detail.
About the book:
Devastated at the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her dear mum, Olivia needs a change of scenery. So, she packs a bag and heads for the beautiful Greek island of Castellorizo, where her mother was born.
Olivia has always wondered about her heritage but her Nanna Sofia was reluctant to speak of the past. Now, she’s returned to their home, Olivia is determined to discover her history and find out what caused the rift that tore her family apart.
As Olivia uncovers secrets dating back to WWII, will she discover some things are best left in the past?
Print length: 464 pages.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction
This book would for me have been a perfect beach read. Instead it made a great lockdown read as I sat in my garden with a glass of rose, imagining I was on holiday ― Fab After Fifty
We race to the end with our hearts thumping. Full of local colour and tradition this is a little slow to start but certainly builds to unexpected conclusions. Terrific stuff ― Love Reading, on Villa of Secrets
Full of raw emotion ― Sunday Post, on Villa of Secrets
One for the suitcase – whether real or imaginary. You’ll feel you’re in Greece as soon as you start reading ― Frost Magazine, on Secrets of Santorini
Packed with intrigue, danger and romance, Wilson’s passion for the classics and an endless fascination with foraging into the vibrant corners of history, this is a poignant and beautifully written story best read on a sunlounger with a glass of chilled ouzo ― Lancashire Telegraph, on Secrets of Santorini
Wilson delves into Greece’s war-torn history, weaving the past and present together to create an evocative and emotional drama that tugs at the heartstrings. It’s an equally enjoyable novel whether you’re hiding inside from the British rain or lounging outside in the sun ― Culture Fly
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.