In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple are about to open the island's most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the Özkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island. But beneath the city's façade of glamour and success, tension is building. When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story.
I read The Island when it was first released and I found it such a compelling read so I couldn’t wait to start The Sunrise which is set back in the 1970’s in the picturesque Famagusta in Cyprus. As Turkish and Greek Cypriots are enjoying life and seeing businesses going from strength to strength and an increase in tourism life is good until Turkey invades Famagusta leaving the Cypriots with no option but to flee, leaving their homes and possessions behind. The city is now like a ghost town but there are still two families in hiding.
This book was of great interest to me as I remember as a young girl on my family holiday to Cyprus standing at the border Famagusta where there were armed guards, I remember peering over into this ghost town and seeing this deserted town with bullet holes in the side of buildings and that image has stayed with me but I never quite understood the history behind it so this book really piqued my interest.
This was such an eventful and tense read that had me so immersed in the storyline that I couldn’t help keeping turning those pages to find out what was going to happen next.
The book was split in two, the first half which is before the invasion was more light hearted reading with romance, friendship and new beginnings and felt like an enjoyable holiday read then the second half saw a deeper darker side once the invasion occurs and this was where things got heart breaking and tense.
No matter what I write in my review I still won’t be able to express how captivated I was by this storyline, it was such a thought provoking read and it has made me really want to return to Cyprus to see the sights again with more knowledge.
Victoria Hislop has clearly under took extensive research for this book and I felt like a sponge soaking up all the historical content in this book as well as enjoying the storyline. The descriptive writing is remarkable I could visualise the settings and also feel the emotion of all of the characters.
This is an unbelievably compelling read that I am sure is going to give me book hangover now. This storyline will stay with me for a long time and as for my copy of The Sunrise it is staying firmly on my shelf this one is not for sharing!