I have loved Victoria Hislops writing ever since The Island took the literary world by storm in 2005. Hislop takes on lesser known historical narratives and locations and uses loveable and realistic characters to draw the reader into the history. I have never read one of Hislops novels without wanting to visit the location she has described. Her writing is rich, vivid and yet her descriptive approach never detracts from her plot lines.
The Sunshine is a book which has been sitting on my shelf for some time, a second hand copy I picked up at Barter Books in Alnwick. I had been looking for something lighter after reading a series of quite dark, emotionally intense novels and was looking forward to diving into another sunny destination. The book tells the story of deserted Famagusta in Cyprus, which was completely abandoned after the civil war there in the 1970s between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Hislop uses the hotels which still stand on the beach, a stark reminder of the vivid lives once lived there, to tell the story of two families experiencing the civil war.
Despite setting up the story with historical background, as Hislop tends to do, there was a sense of surprise throughout. When war comes we feel unnerved for the families we have gotten to know. The reader feels saddened by the destruction of a place that was once a happy holiday destination.
What I really enjoyed about this novel was that the characters are not always to be trusted. My opinion of the characters changed often, with the perspective shifting throughout it was not always clear who was to be trusted and believed. The final plot twists were a surprise to me and this isn’t often the case – I usually see where the writer is going.
I would highly recommend The Sunrise to all of the book lovers out there. Particularly at this time of year, I think its nice to jump into sunnier climbs and read about a world completely apart from our own. I enjoyed reading about a part of recent history that I had known very little about previously.
This is a book which will hold your attention and carry you away to Cyrpus, perfect for a cold, rainy day.