Aphrodite’s Island

Written by Hilary Green
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

The story begins in 1955. EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Struggle) is launching a military campaign to unite the island with Greece and end British rule. Serving in the British Army is a young officer called Stephen Allenby who, whilst taking lessons in Greek from a local schoolmaster, meets and falls in love with Ariadne, his daughter. Their feelings are mutual, and they meet in secret but when they are found out Stephen is immediately sent back to England without knowing that Ariadne is pregnant. The story then jumps to 1974. Stephen is now married with a daughter, Cressida, but the marriage is not a happy one and he finds the opportunity to return to Cyprus to try and find Ariadne. Jump again to 1998 and in her turn, Cressida also goes to Cyprus in search of her family’s roots.

I found this a fascinating story. I remember the EOKA period but didn’t know a lot about it. This book brings the political struggle vividly to life and points up the penalties Cypriots faced if they intermingled too closely with the British. The characterisation is excellent, the descriptions of the Cypriot countryside colourful and it was very easy to become totally immersed in the tale. Recommended.