By Victoria Hislop
Started: 19th June 2015
Finished: 3rd July 2015
This is my third experience with a Victoria Hislop book and I’m still waiting to get the same feeling I had when I finished the ‘The Island.’ There were times when I felt that ‘The Sunrise’ could achieve this but it never fully managed it, however I still enjoyed the book nonetheless.
The novel begins in the Northern Cypriot town of Famagusta in 1972 with the opening of the new luxury hotel ‘The Sunrise.’ The focus of the novel begins on Aphroditi Georgious, the glamorous wife of hotel owner Savvas Georgious and face of the hotel, and how her life has changed since the opening of the hotel. Although she has her life in the public eye, there are many things that she keeps private especially her developing relationship with Markos, the nightclub manager. Things take a dramatic turn when the conflict between Turkey and Greece arrives in Famagusta, changing everyone’s life forever.
I really enjoyed the plot of the novel and seeing how things developed, although the conflict added a more complicated layer to the story I would have been quite happy to read an entire book about the goings on at ‘The Sunrise.’ The opening of the novel really intrigued me and I was looking forward to see where it would go. The novel became very intense as it went on and there were a lot of moments where I felt a genuine sense of unease. I often picked the book up thinking I would only have the time to read a couple of chapters but I always found myself reading way more than my target as I just couldn’t put it down. Although there were times where some chapters felt a little repetitive. This didn’t bother me as much as it could have as the chapters alternated between characters. I thought this was great and allowed you to see what different people were doing in this conflict, however I was much more interested in Aphroditi’s story.
I didn’t feel any real attachments to any of the characters apart from Aphroditi (despite some aspects of her attitude in the beginning). None of them really stood out to me, even with the two families struggling to survive in the conflict. From the description of the novel I was expecting things to be far more tense and difficult between the two families, which didn’t really happen often until one climactic scene towards the end of the novel. I felt that all the characters had potential for a lot more than what was offered, apart from Aphroditi who seemed to be the one who grew the most.
Overall I did like the book and as always I really enjoyed Hislop’s writing. I also really liked the addition of the epilogue revisiting certain characters years after the conflict. However I was just expecting something a little more from it. I can’t wait to read more of Hislop’s work. ‘The Sunrise’ is definitely worth a read however I would recommend ‘The Island’ if you want to see Hislop at her best.