Ahhh, Greece. Anywhere in Greece. And no one writes Greece better than Victoria Hislop. THE THREAD takes place in Thessaloniki; a city ruined by fire and war, over and over again.
THE THREAD begins in 2007 with an elderly couple telling their beloved grandson their story. It is with chapter two that we begin the emergence into the history of this part of Greece known as Thessaloniki. You will love having the maps of the area to help acclimate you.
WW l Almost devastated parts of Greece. The Greek Civil War was abysmal, and WWII tore the country apart. This, without mentioning earthquakes and fires. The Greek people are strong. Their strength comes from their faith and their family values. Victoria Hislop has perfectly captured all of this and more.
Dimitri is born in the midst of a fire that destroys much of Thessaloniki. He is born to a rich textile baron and a meek and loving mother. For several years they are forced to live in a dilapidated part of the city while their home is rebuilt.
Katerina is separated from her mother in a mob scene as they board a ship leaving their country of Smyrna in Asia Minor. The Turkish army has invaded their fair city and they are being forced to leave. This is an area where Muslims, Jews, and Christians have lived in peace and harmony for seemingly ever. Katerina only knows her mother is bound for Athens. And she finds herself being put on a different ship one bound for Thessaloniki.
Katerina and Dimitri become friends as they meet and play as young kids in the streets of Thessaloniki. And then they become much more. This is their story.
Hislop has woven a tale of love and friendship, rift and devastation, strength and loss. She has done it by bringing more to the table than just the history. Her characters glow and leap from the pages. They make you laugh and cry. They make you follow them throughout this lovely story.
Hislop’s first novel was THE ISLAND. I so enjoyed learning about the island of Spinalonga and its story of housing a population of lepers The picturesque seaside communities Hislop brought us in this first novel endeared me to this area of Greece.
Then, with THE RETURN ,Hislop took us to Spain and the civil war in that country. Another part of history opened up for me. And a fabulous love story as well.
I love learning through my reading. Victoria Hislop always does stellar research. I learned not only the culture and faiths of this area but, her use of secret religious messages and artifacts help to complete the mystery of the story.
Hislop has given her main character a gift: the gift of embroidery; really fine sewing. This was a way for Katerina to eke out a living in times when many other women and entire families were starving. The sewing ends up being a major accomplishment within the story.
There are times of tremendous economic loss. It brings to mind the here and now. The Greek people are struggling even now in this century. But they are true survivors. If you read the article above written by Hislop, you will be able to see much of what is happening in Greece right this minute. But after reading this novel you will be able to see how Greece has been able to come back from the ashes many times over, and surely they can do it again.
The story ends with the torch of the family’s secrets being handed over to the grandson. Will he accept the challenge?
Victoria Hislop was born in Kent, England. She has been writing seriously for many years. THE THREAD is her third novel. We can only hope she keeps up the great work.
Thanks Harper Collins for providing my early galley. You guys are amazing!