Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: When The Cypress Whispers

When the Cypress WhispersAuthor: Yvette Manessis Corporon
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Harper

On a beautiful Greek island, myths, magic, and a colorful cast of characters come together in a lushly atmospheric story about past and present, family and fate, love and dreams that poignantly captures the deep bond between an American woman and her Greek grandmother

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she's been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family's old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place.

Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne's fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband's unexpected death.

After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fianc?-everything she's ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne's new life- and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter- stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again.

“My own cousin, marrying a rich Amerikanos. You can buy anything you want, even a new nose.”

She had loved visiting the island, walking its ancient paths, daydreaming under its majestic cypress trees – wondering if they would finally whisper their secrets to her.

But the cypress whispers, like the story of Odysseus’s travels, proved to be nothing more than another island legend.

Already she felt freer, happier, and more full of life than she had in years.

Daphne seems to have everything in her life together on the surface. She runs a successful Greek restaurant in New York and has a beautiful daughter, but when she visits her grandmother (Yia –yia) in Greece, she is able to see through Daphne’s glazed over expression. Returning to her favorite place, an island where most of her childhood memories took place, makes Daphne question the life she has chosen and whether or not she always made the right decisions. This is a novel about finding yourself, family ties, and learning to live again. It is a beautifully written novel.

I think Greece is one of the most beautiful places on Earth; I have never actually been there but I just go on what I see in pictures. It is at the top of my list of places to visit. This book was full of Greek culture. The descriptions of the sites, food, and traditional life were exquisite. I had to pause and reread several passages where the imagery and descriptions were just so vivid that I wanted to take the time to picture them in my mind. The island is completely majestic as well, not to mention the daily happenings that go on there. Reading this book was like taking a mini vacation!

This book was a nice escape for me, and I had it finished rather quickly, although I did pause and reread a few certain sections. The relationship that Daphne and her grandmother share is truly inspiring, and seeing some of Daphne’s flashbacks helped me relate to her even more. This is one of the books that I will definitely remember when 2014 comes to a close!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Harper in exchange for my honest review***

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