Title: When the Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon
Published April 1, 2014; Harper
Genre: fiction, historical fiction
Objective rating: 4.5/5
About the book: Daphne grew up in the 1990s on the small Greek island of Erikousa and, a widow with a young son, now lives and works as a successful restaurant owner in New York. She returns to Corfu to prepare for her wedding to Stephen Heatherton, who will join her in about a week from New York.
Daphne's reunion with her cousin Popi in Corfu and her grandmother Yia-yia in Erikousa reawakens her memories and her traditional home values. She learns more about her grandmother's life and sacrifices during the war, when Greece was occupied in the 1940s, about secrets her Yia-yia had never shared with her. Daphne soon comes to reevaluate her beliefs and questions her life in ultra modern New York, especially after meeting the mysterious but alluring Yanni.
My comments: What seemed at first to be a straightforward story of a woman who returns to her roots soon becomes one much more involved. The life of the Greeks on the islands during wartime occupation and the story of Yianni, a survivor, and his connection to Daphne's grandmother, add an important and fascinating historical component to the book.
A poetic touch is the grandmother's message to young Daphne, which she states again when Daphne has returned to the island. Listen to the island's cypress trees, whose whispers in the wind will impart truth and wisdom.
I thought this was a wonderful read. I wasn't too keen on the ambiguous ending of the novel, however, though it stressed that many aspects of life, including the romantic, are not at all predictable.
Find out more about Yvette at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.
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