Book Review: Maria's Island by Victoria Hislop.

We got sent this beautiful, hardback book in the post and it was such a lovely surprise. Thank you so much Walkers Books for such wonderful book post! 

The Blurb.

A dramatic and moving story set in the same world as the international bestseller The Island from the celebrated novelist Victoria Hislop.
The absorbing story of the Cretan village of Plaka and the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece's former leper colony – is told to us by Maria Petrakis, one of the children in the original version of The Island. She tells us of the ancient and misunderstood disease of leprosy, exploring the themes of stigma, shame and the treatment of those who are different, which are as relevant for children as adults. Gill Smith's rich, full-colour illustrations will transport the reader to the timeless and beautiful Greek landscape and Mediterranean seascape.

My Review.

Firstly, I have to express how utterly beautiful this book is. It is honestly stunning. This story, I believe comes from Victoria Hislop's best selling adult fiction book 'The Island.' Victoria wrote 'Maria's Island' for a younger audience but I honestly think with illustrations as beautiful as this that both children and adults alike will cherish it. I know I certainly will. 

This story is both heart-warming and heart-breaking. I struggled to put it down, even though I had moments where it felt like it was too sad to continue, I knew I had to, because I think it's such an important story. To think all those years ago, this is what happened to people who were diagnosed with Leprosy brings tears to my eyes. Leaving their families never to return; what that must have felt like for them and their families is just too much. Maria, however, was so incredibly special because her story is one of hope. She remained determined throughout her heartbreak and I was left marvelling at her and what she ended up accomplishing. 

The setting a long with the wonderful illustrations made me smile and the way Victoria wrote the book like Maria was telling her granddaughter her story made it extra special to me. I spent many years listening to my Nanna telling me her stories of growing up in the mountains of Italy amongst the olive trees, so this definitely spoke to me. The Mediterranean style of images made it very easy to picture Italy and everything I love about it and how much I treasure the moments of spending time with my Nanna and of all the stories I remember from her childhood. So, I especially loved that this book evoked that for me. 

I highly recommend 'Maria's Island,' and would like to say another big thank you to Walker's Books for sending us a copy. 

Happy Reading!

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