Published by Harper Paperbacks, ISBN 9780062396099
Trade paperback, $15.99, 352 pages
Victoria Hislop's fascinating new novel, The Sunrise, is set in 1972 in the tourist city of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. Aphroditi and Savvas Papacostas are preparing for the opening of their new hotel, The Sunrise, the most extravagant hotel on the island.
They are the golden couple of Famagusta, and the Sunrise will be their crowning achievement. Things are going wonderfully and Savvas has his eyes on remodeling their other hotel, making it even greater than the Sunrise. He comes to rely heavily on Markos, trusting him to run the Sunrise nightclub, which Markos makes into the place to be seen.
Aphroditi does not like Markos, treating him more as a servant than a valued employee, which rankles Markos. When Savvas becomes totally consumed with the new construction, Markos and Aphroditi are thrown together hosting the evening cocktail party at the Sunrise and feelings between them change.
There is change on Cyprus too. Clashes between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots come to a head when in 1974, a Greek coup d'etat results in Turkey invading Cyprus, and Famagusta becomes a war zone.
As refugees (including the Papacostas) flee Famagusta, Markos's Greek Georgious family and the Ozkans family, (Turkish Cypriots) end up in hiding together in Famagusta. The fathers of both families are wary of each other, but eventually see that they must help each other in order to survive.
The Sunrise is a timely novel that, while set in the 1970's, could be about many places across the world today. Innocent people are caught up in the terrors of war that they never wanted to participate in. Old regional grudges and greed conspire to destroy a culture, and the ideals of young men are corrupted to achieve political goals.
Hislop does a wonderful job creating character and a story that feels authentic. The life that the Georgious' and Ozkans build together in hiding, how they work together to protect their families while trying to escape detection is captivating to the reader.
The sudden, horrific violence of war is on full display here, and there is one instance late in the story that changes many things for many people, revealing the true character of one person.
I was totally riveted by The Sunrise, reading it in two sittings. There are many times when I found myself holding my breath, and others when I read through tears. I give The Sunrise my highest recommendation, and fans of Chris Bohjalian's The Sandcastle Girls will want to read this one.
Victoria Hislop's website is here.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Victoria Hislop's tour. The rest of the stops are here:
Victoria’s Tour Stops
Wednesday, July 8th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, July 9th: Novel Escapes
Friday, July 10th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, July 13th: Book Loving Hippo
Tuesday, July 14th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 15th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, July 16th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, July 20th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, July 21st: Lit and Life
Wednesday, July 22nd: she treads softly
Friday, July 24th: Raven Haired Girl
Friday, July 31st: Many Hats