Ava has beaten a retreat. Her marriage has failed, she has lost a longed for baby and she feels she needs to take a step back to see whether she can retrieve her life in England.
Her grandmother has bequeathed a house to her - a house in far off central Greece. Her grandmother though being Greek has never spoken of her Greek heritage, has never disclosed how she came to England and even her daughter Ava's mother knows very little of her mother's past. Despite having several grandchildren, Ava cannot understand why the house was given to her.
She decides to go, sight unseen, without informing anyone of her arrival and finds a dilapidated cottage,in a very remote village. Luckily for her she is befriended on her arrival by Eleni, who offers her accommodation and hospitality till she settles down. Ava's interest other than pulling herself together is to find out what she can about her grandmother and Eleni's own mother is very shaken on her first sight of Ava. However Eleni is not willing at all, for Ava to question her mother about the subject of Sophia - Ava's grandmother because the Nazi occupation of Greece and the partisan warfare that also was part of this area are subjects that are extremely painful to recollect. Eleni fears for her mother's wellbeing and Ava has to look elsewhere for information.
Piecing together bit by bit, and in alternate chapters telling the story of Sophia during the 1942 period and the way Sophia had to live with her father and sister Angelika, her subsequent involvement in the Resistance despite her not wanting to do anything which would bring attention to their family and how she found herself in London is very eloquently told.
Ava's struggle to come to terms with her loss, her reconciliation with her husband and putting her grandmother's story to rest is this story.
Very descriptive of rural Greece even in the present times, and detailed in the telling of the 1942s this is a mix of history as well as a family story.
The book was sent to me from Netgalley courtesy of Tute Publishing.