• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (July 7, 2015)
Internationally bestselling author Victoria Hislop delivers a stirring novel set during the 1974 Cypriot coup d’état that tells the intersecting stories of three families devastated by the conflict. . .
Summer 1972—Famagusta is Cyprus’s most desirable tourist destination in the Mediterranean. Aphroditi Papacostas and her husband, Savvas, own The Sunrise, a wildly successful new luxury hotel. Frequented by only the very wealthiest of Europe’s elite, The Sunrise quickly becomes the place to see and be seen. Yet beneath the veneer of tranquil opulence simmers mounting hostility between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Years of unrest and ethnic violence come to a head when, in 1974, Greece’s coup d’état provokes a Turkish attack on beautiful Famagusta.
The fallout sends the island’s inhabitants spiraling into fear and chaos, and the Papacostases join an exodus of people who must abandon their idyllic lives in Famagusta and flee to refugee camps. In the end, only two families remain in the decimated city: the Georgious and the Özkans. One is Greek Cypriot, the other Turkish Cypriot, and the tension between them is palpable. But with resources scarce and the Turkish militia looming large, both families must take shelter in the deserted hotel as they battle illness, hunger, fear, and their own prejudices while struggling to stay alive.
The Sunrise is a poignant story about the measures we take to protect what we love.
While I loved the premise of this book, I was underwhelmed by the characters in general. I love novels set somewhere other than the US, because I love the unique perspective. This book’s historical significance didn’t quite convey because the characters didn’t seem as though they were a part of it. I wanted to engage with the characters, but they didn’t feel fully developed and an emotional connection to them was lost. Expectation led me to believe that such a chaotic mark in time would have brought out significantly more emotion and conflict within the characters.
Hislop’s writing is beautiful– very descriptive and inviting, and the plot had some great points but there were some missed opportunities to expand on some very important historical references. Books with such a political stance have to have strong plot and character lineup to bring about a proper understanding of the turmoil and chaos of the time from the reader.
Victoria Hislop is the internationally bestselling author of The Island and The Return. She writes travel features for the Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, House & Garden, and Woman & Home. She divides her time among rural Kent, London, and Crete. She is married and has two children.