Beloved author Victoria Hislop returns to Crete in this long-anticipated sequel to her multi-million-copy
Number One bestseller, The Island.
25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating
When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people
of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.
In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted
and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.
Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that
remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with
Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.
We all have authors that we automatically buy whenever they publish a new novel! Sometimes though we start to find ourselves disappointed, feeling that the author is losing their ability to keep us engaged with the story, thankfully that is not the case with Victoria Hislop and her latest offering One August Night. In the follow-up to her bestseller, The Island, we are returned to 1957 when the Island of Spinalonga closes it’s Leper Colony, an act that has heartbreaking consequences for so many!
What we can always rely on in a Victoria Hislop book, is a strong sense of place, the story rooted in the often calamitous history of Greece and it’s people. You can feel the underlying currents of a culture dominated by war and male power over society, which fed into years of upheaval and the violent act that Lies at the Centre of One August Night. Maria, her sister Anna, cousins Manolis and Andreas all find themselves caught up in a tragedy that has dramatic consequences that ripple through the years. The author handles it well, wrapping up a story about love, betrayal and redemption in a narrative about how, what should have been a day of celebration and hope of a better future, turns into a nightmare and a world torn asunder.
I loved how she took us not just on a journey around the tragedy itself, but also how Greek culture shaped the events and the story she is telling. Manolis and Andreas are there to represent the hot blooded Greek male, Anna and Maria the passionate, strong, resilient women of Greece, who show the truth of how they may have been absent from the bigger events, but that the world around them is shaped by their quiet inner strength. She exposes the fault lines that run through Greek culture and show the reader how forgiveness is the most powerful of human emotions and within One August Night, the most important.
Character wise for me Maria Petrakis is the best of her characterization’s, around whom all the others flow. Not the proud, passionate Anna, who is stunningly wrought, or the fiery, yet tragic Manolis and Andreas, both of whom are superbly written characters. There was just something about Maria, loyal, studious, quietly passionate, who having survived the Lepar colony, aches to find a world that will accept her. Victoria Hislop recognizes that her strength has the potential to heal the wounds that have their roots in a small island near Elounda in East Crete, Spinalonga. It is her life there and her determination to forge a new future, that means she shines off the page and managed to worm her way into my heart.
Now many may wonder if they need to go back and read The Island to get the best out of this follow-up, but it reads perfectly as a standalone, so no worries there. If you want to read The Island first, do, it is stunning and will fill in the background of this story, but you really don’t have to, to read and enjoy One August Night.
About the author
Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than six million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller.
Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, followed and was one of the biggest selling books of 2016. The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine. Victoria’s most recent novel, One August Night, returns to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. The novel spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts.
Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.
Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, Victoria was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
You can follow the author on Twitter @VicHislop