Monday, 4 January 2021

Hearts of Stone

Finished January 3
Hearts of Stone by Simon Scarrow


This novel jumps between two time periods, late 2013 and World War II. In the more modern time period, Anna is a high school history teacher in London and it's nearing Christmas break when she gets an email from a man, Dietrich Muller, in Germany asking if she is Anna, and if her grandmother was Eleni. At first, Anna is wary, but after doing some research, she listens to his story. 
It goes back to 1938 in Greece, on the island of Lefkas, where Eleni is from. Dietrich's grandfather Peter, and great-grandfather Karl were on the island doing an archeological dig led by Karl. Eleni's father was the police inspector in the main town there and thus they met, and the teenagers, Peter, Eleni, and her friend Andreas, spent a lot of time together and became friends. 
Karl was called back to Germany as things got more tense, and Andreas joined the navy shortly after. We then follow Andreas and Eleni on their journeys during the war, as Anna talks to her grandmother and finally gets her to open up about that time in her past. Dietrich's knows Peter's story from the diaries he left behind, and they share how those stories diverge and intersect.
The island of Lefkas is the setting for most of the historical part of the story, and I got a good sense of both the land and the people who lived there. This was a horrific time for them as they were occupied first by the Italians and then by the Germans, both of whom took much of the food there for themselves. The islanders natural resistance to this made reprisals common, and this created a cycle of tragedy and loss. The author also ties in more ancient history to the story through archeology and the long history of the Greek people. 
I really enjoyed this book and even though it is a long book, I read it fairly quickly. 

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