- Published: November 7th, 2013
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Genre: Romance Historical Fiction
- Pages: 227
- Quote: “I was still breathing, my heart was still beating, but in every other way I had ceased to live.” —Source
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- A copy of this book was provided by Pubshelf for free in exchange for an HONEST review. Pubshelf is a site dedicated to promoting self-published authors.
When the Turkish invade Cyprus in 1974 Pru, a young British Army wife, has her life turned upside down. Two weeks later she flees the country with a baby who isn’t hers.
Over thirty years later that baby, now a grown woman called Leni, returns to the island of her birth to find out about the chain of events that led her to be brought up as Pru’s child. She discovers the true cost of war, how the hurt still continues through the generations and what being a family really means.
In this story of love and loss Leni will lay ghosts to rest in more ways than one. —Source
Jo Bunt was born in Cyprus to British parents. It made sense to her that her first novel should be based there.Following the family’s return to England Jo went to school in Nottingham, university in Hull and then worked in London as a Recruitment Consultant for PwC for many years. Following a family illness Jo moved to Derbyshire where she now lives with her husband and her twin sons. This has enabled her to focus on her two great loves in life; her family and her writing.She remembers writing her first ‘novel’ when she was seven but spent her angst-ridden teenage years writing miserable and dark poetry. She mostly writes mainstream fiction but is also working on a series of children’s adventure books, largely guided by her own children. When she is not writing or looking after the children Jo is an avid reader and self-confessed food snob. If she can combine the two she is a very happy lady indeed. —Source
Review of the Characters:
Leni— She was our eyes and ears into modern day Cyprus. Grieving over a miscarriage and finding out she was adopted, she runs to Cyprus in search of roots, in search of the sense of belonging. Her marriage has fallen into slump due to the miscarriage so not only is she haunted by never knowing her real family, but the thoughts of her husband and what they once had is constantly on her mind. I have to say one of the best parts of the book was reading about all of the delicious food, because you see, Leni is a food journalist which means she has THE BEST JOB EVER. The author immerses us into Leni’s taste buds so that your salivating with every bite she takes. (And this is coming from a picky eater)! You empathized with how lost Leni felt and admired how determined she was throughout the novel. She pursued any tidbits she could muster about her real family even if it meant sneaking into a ghost town. I do have to make one small note about the character though as she came off a bit like a Mary Jane at moments. For example, she would explain how thin she was and tell us about her long legs but then describe how self conscious she felt about her looks. It’s a bit off-putting.
Pru— She was the hilarious. The total opposite of Leni, she knew she looked good and OWNED it. She’s pregnant at the time that we see her in 1975 Cyprus and the way she talks about walking while pregnant so funny.
“Once, quite early on in her pregnancy, she had vowed never to walk like a pregnant woman. She was sure that the pregnancy duck-waddle wasn’t a necessary process.” —Source
This character was honest with us, she never pretended to be anything she wasn’t and it was for that reason that I enjoyed her much more than Leni. This woman was caught in a war that was not her fight, and through this character we see that it is not just soldiers who suffer, but innocent bystanders as well.
Review of the Story:
As soon as I read the premise I knew that I wanted to dive right into this novel. We follow two different story lines, Leni in modern day Cyprus who is looking into her past and Pru, Leni’s adoptive mother, in war ravaged 1975 Cyprus. As we see through Leni we learn about Pru and as we see through Pru we learn about Leni, it was very well done. The best part of the story for me though was the history. Cyprus is not a place I’m very familiar with so to learn about the battle that happened between Greeks and Turks in 1975 was fascinating. The author’s research was extensive and accurate. Though at times it felt like the facts were given to us bullet point after bullet point like in a history book which would get daunting. Also the ending seemed just a bit too convenient with how quickly things resolved themselves, but c’est la vie.
Review of the Writing:
The author wove two different tales into one which isn’t an easy thing to do but she pulled it off beautifully. However, this novel could have used another round of editing. It felt like she over complicated sentences which in turn interrupted the flow of the story.
“I blinked and swallowed and tried to concentrate on the view of the sea in front of me but tears surged against the self-built dam and with constant battering, broke down the edifice that had been protecting me.” —Source
Simplicity is key when you’re trying to get your point across, I was taught that you should always say something in as few words as possible. This is just a quirk with me though, so it is a biased opinion. Some might like more fluff in their sentences which is perfectly fine. Another issue of mine too is her wording. It sort of felt like she used a thesaurus throughout the novel, here’s an example:
“I’m normally a lot more erudite than this.” —Source
While erudite is a perfectly acceptable term, in that sentence it doesn’t sound believable which only distracts from the novel. So while a few editing notes persist, overall the writing was well done.
If you’re looking for an easy Sunday read for a quick escape, I recommend giving this novel a try. With this novel, you’ll learn a little history and enlighten your taste buds at the same time.
P.S.– My next read is The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan