The story starts when Alexis Fielding decides to travel to Crete to find out about her Mothers Past, her mother Sophia has never spoken of it and she is dying to know why. All she has told her is that she grew up in a small fishing village in Crete.
Sophia gives Alexis a letter to give to an old friend Fotini instructing her to tell Alexis all. Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is stunned to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony.
Fotini tell Alexis the tale of her Great Grandmother Elini and her daughters, Anna and Maria, a tragic, touching tale connecting them to the island of Spinalonga. Leprosy may be one of the world’s oldest known diseases, but it is also one of its most misunderstood.
The fishermen and their families on Crete who can see and fear the leper colony, and the first symptom, dry numb patches on the skin, is one to be dreaded. Leprosy; they know, is highly contagious. It means a slow and agonising death, in which they are cast out by loved ones and forced to live out your days with an incurable illness on the Island.
This book is just amazing I could not wait to find times to sit and read it. And looked forward to visits to Spinalonga, a community within itself. It’s so sad to see how people were treated with this decease, and the fates they met. The book humanised sufferers and made it feel real. I grew to love the characters. The book jumps between rich and poor, Spinalonga and Plaka in a whirlwind of revelations for Alexis, what she finds out changes her life forever.