I haven’t touched a computer for over 2 weeks and I got back to find that my incoming emails have been rejected due to my email box being full. Guess what? Tiscali didn’t notify me about this until it was about to start rejecting my emails and that was after I had gone on holiday. So apologies to anyone who has contacted me and got their email sent back to them. Now I’m still trying to figure out why the email box was full when I’d deleted all my old emails from Outlook before I went away. I suspect that I also have to delete them again from my Tiscali email account. Well I’ve done that and the account is OK now. What a pain!
Well on with the show as they say. I’ve had a fantastic holiday and as usual done very little other than eat, drink, swim, play with my grandchildren and read. I’m not the greatest tourist in the world I’ve been to Rhodes five times now and I’ve seen very little of it. I do love Rhodes Town though, the old one and I always go there and have a wander around the back streets on Sundays after I’ve been to church. I’ll do a posting of that, maybe next week.
Old Rhodes Town
In the meantime I’ll describe one of the books I read. I’m not a prolific reader, I never seem to have time but when I’m on holiday I usually manage to read about five or six books.
The Island by Victoria Hislop was the one I enjoyed most, it’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages.The novel begins in present day London where Alexis is about to go on holiday and to decide on major changes to her life. She’s going to Plaka in Crete, the place where her mother, Sofia, grew up. Her mother refuses to speak about her past but she gives Alexis a letter to give to an old friend, Fortina who will tell her the story.
As she questions her mother’s friend, Alexis uncovers the family secrets and her mother's, her grandmother's, and her great-grandmother's past and their connection with Spinaloga.
This island of Spinalonga was Greece's main leper colony from 1903 to 1957 and the book paints an intimate picture of what life was like for the lepers living on the island. It’s a compelling and moving story with vividly drawn characters and the wonderful setting of Crete which she describes in beautiful detail.
The book portrays people’s fears and prejudices about leprosy and the hardships of life for those who were stigmatised and banished to Spinalonga. It’s an eye opener and raises awareness about the disease. Although today the disease is totally curable, over 600,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy every year. So if you’re like me and don’t know much about leprosy or how you can help, you can visit the LEPRA website to find out more.
I had a couple of reservations about some aspects of the story but on the whole I found it a fascinating book, interesting and well researched and although leprosy is at the centre of the story it’s not all gloom! It’s a heart warming and charming read which I really enjoyed. Even better was the fact it was a bargain, I found it in the Poundland shop!
The book made me want to go back to Crete one day and visit Spinalonga to see for myself the setting for the book.
In the meantime here’s an interesting video clip of the haunting setting for the book.