My book club meets this Friday and I am scrambling to finish this month's selection. The book is titled "The Thread" by Victoria Hislop, and I am enjoying it quite a bit. The story begins in Greece in 1917 and the plot continues up until the present. It is a wonderful story about love and loyalty, but also about modern Greek history, particularly events that took place in the city of Thessaloniki.
I once had a boss who was a Greek woman, who lived in Greece during World War 2. She sometimes mentioned how hard things were at that time, especially the lack of food. She told me that a few times she and her sister were so hungry they ate grass. What I didn't know, but learned from this book, was that during the war, all the Jews were rounded up and sent to Poland. I am learning so much about how Greece was affected during the war and afterwards. The country sure did have a pattern of rounding up anyone who was not Greek and shipping them off elsewhere, which they also did with all Muslims in the early 1900's.
The book isn't all dismal historical events however. The main character, Katerina, is a skilled seamstress (particularly fine hand embellishment and embroidery) and works for a tailoring house in the city. I enjoyed reading about her handwork, making fine lingerie or embellishing bridal gowns with fancy beading and stitchery. There is a love story, which takes quite awhile to get off the ground, but is compelling anyway. She and her love, Dmitri, end up together (which is not a spoiler-you can see that coming from the first chapter), and find themselves caretakers of the belongings of those friends who were sent away. They tell their tale to their grandson, so that he understands why they do not leave the city in their twilight years.
The book got mostly good reviews on Amazon, but was occasionally criticized for being "too discriptive". Is that a flaw in a book? Not for me! I thought the events well researched, the characters well drawn and the story interesting. Not bad at all.