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Ask any writer what makes their writing worthwhile and they won’t say sales (although sales , of course make a difference) they will likely say reviews.

Reviews for me are hugely rewarding to read and often make my day as I read the thoughts on my writing, the impact it has had or the difference it has made to someone’s understanding about themselves or something new. Recently I had two fabulous reviews on The Summer Will Come which I wanted to share with you. Both readers have given the book 5 stars on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and I am absolutely thrilled…this is what makes me keep on writing!

So my first thanks go to J. Crane for leaving this review:

“This was the first book I’d read by this author and I was captivated from the very beginning. It was so beautifully written – I was swept away to the island heat of Cyprus in the 1950’s at the beginning and then to the grey, damp streets of London by the end. This is a heartfelt, tender story about how history has the power to shape the human experience and how world events can affect the most ordinary of lives. It’s about family, loyalty and having the strength and courage to start a new life, far removed from what you know. I stayed up until 1 in the morning to finish this book and it was definitely time well spent. I loved it and look forward to reading more from Soulla Christodoulou in the future.”

 

My second thanks go to Allison Garcia who said this:

“Masterfully written. My senses were awakened by the beautiful imagery of Cyprus and the mouth-watering food descriptions. I loved how it was a slow burn…wondering how the families might connect. Also, as I am not familiar with Cypriot history, it served as a very intimate portrayal of the beginning of their fight for independence from English rule. I also really enjoyed seeing how they adjusted to immigrating to England. Overall, I loved the story and didn’t want it to end. Beautiful job!!!!!”

Thank you to each and every one of you for buying, reading and leaving a review. Reviews make a huge difference to the book’s visibility on Amazon and so even a star rating and a single word like Brilliant or Amazing counts as a review. So if you’re not sure what to write just KISS – Keep IT Super Simple!!!

So mwah from me and thank you for reading and for coming back each week to read my blog too. You’re my shining stars! 

The Summer Will Come

 

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Huge thanks and gratitude to Cathy of What Cathy Read Next for her wonderfully perceptive and in-depth review of my newly released novel The Summer Will Come, available on AMAZON.

4 * AMAZON REVIEW – posted on 20th March 2018

Emotional, engaging story set in 1950s Cyprus and London

“The Summer Will Come tells the story of two Cypriot families both affected by the unrest on the island resulting from the struggle for Cypriot independence that took place in the 1950s. The reader sees events from the points of view of Elena and her mother, Evangelia, and Christaki and his father, Loizos.

The author does a great job of communicating the atmosphere of rising tension and fear on the island as families and communities are split by support for one side or the other. Supporters of the nationalist organisation EOKA risk arrest, internment, interrogation (and potentially worse) by the British authorities as they smuggle coded messages and hold secret meetings. It’s a time of curfews, informers, repression and often violent reprisals.

However, the book is not all doom and gloom. There are wonderful descriptions of the landscape of Cyprus and, for those of us in the United Kingdom currently enduring snow and overcast skies, enticing depictions of blue skies, hot days and balmy nights. In addition, there are some evocative descriptions of food that literally made my stomach rumble as I was reading them. ‘Elena imagined paklava, galatoboureko, pitoues, daktila and kateifi, the sweet filo and shortcrust pastries bursting with chopped pistachios, almonds and thick yellow custard sitting together in a warm goo of syrup’. (By the way, there is a really helpful glossary at the back of the book including, for those not on a diet, mouth-watering descriptions of Cypriot pastries and desserts.)

Eventually both families are forced to leave Cyprus to seek a new life in England. For Elena, her twin brother, Andreas, and their mother, Evangelia, the journey offers the prospect of being reunited with their father, Kostas. For Christaki, his brother and sister and, in particular, his mother, Anastasia, it’s a chance to leave traumatic memories behind.

However, the move to England brings fresh challenges for both families. The author brilliantly conveys the contrast between their life in Cyprus and their experience of London. There are obvious things like the cold weather and different food. ‘She felt like she was always shrouded in grey; she could barely see the buildings, the streets, the sky, the landscape from a few hundred yards away.’ But also less obvious things, such as the dirty, dingy housing, the multi-racial nature of London and the noise. ‘It was not the peaceful sound of the lapping waves of the sea in Limassol. No, it was a different world, a noisy one.’ And they find it difficult to adjust to the different pace of life as well. ‘Loizos noticed how those around him seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere; a complete contrast to life in Cyprus, or at least life as it used to be before the Cyprus tragedy, with trundling buses, slow donkeys and hours spent in the kafenion.’

I loved the little details like the families’ surprise that in England olive oil is only available from a pharmacist! There’s a lovely sense of the atmosphere of the 1950s – the fashion, the music and things like the opening of the first Wimpy Bars! However, there are also forceful reminders of the darker side of life.

Conflict arises as the younger members of both families – especially the female members – seek to take advantage of the freedom enjoyed by their peers whilst their parents cling to the traditions of Cyprus, including the custom of arranging introductions between members of the opposite sex and the expected behaviour of girls. ‘The women in the village were raised to be passive and accepting of their role in life; to marry well, be respectful wives and loving mothers…’ When connections within the Cypriot community eventually (and perhaps inevitably) bring two members of the families together, this reader certainly had a clear idea of the resolution she desired.

I really enjoyed The Summer Will Come. I loved learning about the culture and traditions of Cyprus. My only minor niggle (and it is minor) is that the book felt slightly longer than it needed to be. For instance, there was a section set in Blackpool that I felt could have been removed entirely. However, I found the parts of the book set in Cyprus absolutely fascinating and the story of the two families once they moved to London really compelling. If you love historical fiction that is rich in cultural detail and rooted in actual events, then The Summer Will Come will not disappoint.”

Many thanks again to Cathy and to all of you buying, reading and reviewing The Summer Will Come and if you have any questions or would like me to answer any questions about the book then please contact me. I’d love to hear from you!

If you would like to connect with Cathy her website can be found here.

The Summer Will Come is available here.

 

 

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Broken Pieces of Tomorrow: Strong women don’t give up…They find a way through tears and thrills to love again… 
by

 

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Sylvia Valevicius‘s review

Jan 08, 2018
it was amazing

bookshelves: fiction

 

In spite of the title, ‘Broken Pieces of Tomorrow,’ which suggests disappointments for the protagonist, Georgia, I found this novel to be a highly enjoyable read! At first, I thought it was a memoir, but it works well as a novel, seemingly autobiographical in nature. The author, Soulla Christodoulou, makes this book fun. It’s so well- written, one can step right into Georgia’s shoes and take on her experiences – – quite a trip, at that! I found it an excellent progression of story. The novel grows on you as the passage of life does with its ups and downs and mysteries. The author makes you want to read more as she engages the reader in each segment of circumstances in which the protagonist finds herself. The reader experiences the delicious classic case of what will happen next. The reader is never sure of relationship outcomes which is Georgia’s plight. The protagonist second-guesses herself, frequently a relatable condition when one’s life’s turns upside down: “She bit down on her lip, annoyed with herself for telling him too much, explaining herself. She always did that with Nicolas too.” She learns about herself along the way.

True to life, this novel contains its racy bits so prepare yourself; for the most part, Soulla makes it amusing and intriguing. She tells it like it is in everyday (sometimes raw) language, and gets away with it because of her funny and personable nature which simply shines throughout this book.

In the midst of a busy holiday season, I really couldn’t wait to finish my chores and preparations each day to pick up this novel, relax, and simply enjoy what’s going on in Georgia’s life. I can see why this book is a ‘fan favourite.’ Thanks, Soulla. I felt like one of Georgia’s friends! And now I want to give her advice, too :))

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