Those Who Are Loved

Those Who Are Loved


Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.

Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

Our Review

As usual Victoria Hislop’s writing was masterful in her latest novel Those Who are Loved. The novel is weaved with intricate details of the protagonist’s life and within a couple of chapters I was hooked.

Those Who are Loved was particularly enjoyable for me because my Greek history is very sketchy, so it was fascinating to learn about the countries fragmented political history.

Those Who are Loved is primarily about family conflict and Greek political history. Victoria Hislop clearly does her research and it showed time and time again throughout the novel.

Those Who are loved begins with the protagonist, Themis celebrating a birthday surrounded by her friends and family. Her husband is there with them in body but not in mind, “his face was like a dark house. In the past five years, the lights had gone out one by one and today his wife’s radiance accentuated the contrast between them,”

In the end it was her husband’s condition that prompts her to tell her story to two of her grandchildren. She begins by telling them about a friend of hers who died in the square outside Themis’ apartment building during the famine.

“Her life story was not an heirloom, but it was all she had.”

The rich detail of this story was what made it so enjoyable to read. Themis dealt with a lot from a young age – absent parents, siblings who were constantly at war with each other and her over everything but in particular their political beliefs. Themis stays away from the conflict until the death of her friend and then she begins to find herself taking part in increasing acts of rebellion against various political systems until she discovers that she can do more than she thinks but at what cost?

I highly recommend this book.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.5/5

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