• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (July 7, 2015)
Internationally bestselling author Victoria Hislop delivers a stirring novel set during the 1974 Cypriot coup d'état that tells the intersecting stories of three families devastated by the conflict. . .
Summer 1972—Famagusta is Cyprus's most desirable tourist destination in the Mediterranean. Aphroditi Papacostas and her husband, Savvas, own The Sunrise, a wildly successful new luxury hotel. Frequented by only the very wealthiest of Europe's elite, The Sunrise quickly becomes the place to see and be seen. Yet beneath the veneer of tranquil opulence simmers mounting hostility between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Years of unrest and ethnic violence come to a head when, in 1974, Greece's coup d'état provokes a Turkish attack on beautiful Famagusta.
The fallout sends the island's inhabitants spiraling into fear and chaos, and the Papacostases join an exodus of people who must abandon their idyllic lives in Famagusta and flee to refugee camps. In the end, only two families remain in the decimated city: the Georgious and the Özkans. One is Greek Cypriot, the other Turkish Cypriot, and the tension between them is palpable. But with resources scarce and the Turkish militia looming large, both families must take shelter in the deserted hotel as they battle illness, hunger, fear, and their own prejudices while struggling to stay alive.
The Sunrise is a poignant story about the measures we take to protect what we love.
I think this book might be one I revisit at a later point. I loved the setting and Victoria's writing is engaging but I had a hard time really getting into it. There were so many things going on and the plot just didn't flow well for me. It started out slow and once the war was on, my interest was wavering.
I did go back and reread sections of the book, and for me it didn't get better. I would have liked better resolution between Aphroditi and Markos as well as Savvas. The characters just didn't get developed enough for me. One minute Aphroditi dislikes Markos and the next they are carrying out a passionate affair, which doesn't really have much emotion. So there was a bit of romance eluded too, while her marriage to Savvas degenerates.
Overall the writing was beautiful and descriptive. Hislop conveyed the political unrest and uprising well, it is a shame that it was impossible to connect with her characters.
Rating: 3 flowers
Victoria Hislop is the internationally bestselling author of The Island and The Return. She writes travel features for the Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, House & Garden, and Woman & Home. She divides her time among rural Kent, London, and Crete. She is married and has two children.
Find out more about Victoria at her website and connect with her on Twitter.