Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sophia's Secret - Julie Ryan

About the book...

This is the second book in the Greek Island Mystery series.  Although each book is intended to be read as a standalone, some of the characters from the first book, ‘Jennas’s Journey’, do make an appearance. 

Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart.  It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?

About the author...

Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a dippy cat with half a tail.  

She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance!

She is the author of two novels set in Greece, “Jenna’s Journey” and “Sophia’s Secret” both part of the Greek Island Mystery series. She is currently working on a third book, ‘Pandora’s Prophecy.”

Author links: Facebook / Twitter / Blog
My thoughts...

I was given an ecopy of this book by Shaz at Fiction Addiction Book Tours in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.

As soon as I saw the cover of this book I wanted to read this story, I've been to various greek islands and the cover reminded me of the endless, sunny days, lazing outside little taverna's with a meze and a bottle of wine.

This book is told in several parts the first sees Kat returning to Greece for her mothers funeral, a woman she hasn't seen or had contact with in over twenty years.  Kat was sent to England to live with her aunt, age seven.

I loved the way that almost from the first page Julie described life in England so typically, working closely with people yet not knowing anything about them.  Whereas life in Greece is far more close knit, both within the family and the community - everyone knowing your business before you know it yourself.

It's an emotional journey for Kat and she finds the family and friends she hasn't known for twenty years actually seem closer to her than her husband and friends back home.  I particularly loved the community spirit, so very typical of every Greek holiday I've ever known.

There are several mysteries, secrets, hurts and truths that unfold throughout this book, nothing is quite what it seems and life is unsettled by Kat's visit to Greece.  I particularly loved the way the present day chapters were vibrant and at times emotional, other times light and up-lifting - interspersed with the background to how Kat, her grandmother and in particular her childhood best friend have carried burdens over the years.  

Julie created characters that were realistic for the most part.  This isn't just a chic lit, set on a sunny isle, it digs deeper with a few 'bad un's" to despise as well.  It's about discovery, emotional development and acceptance.  As ever things become clearer and situations are resolved by communication.   

At the beginning of the book I was of the opinion that Kat was totally wronged and felt nothing but pity for her, not giving much thought to her grandmother.  Forgetting she'd been estranged from her family, from a grand-daughter she clearly adored, keeping secrets that should have been told years before.  Living with secrets is as hard as living without knowledge. A big lesson learned - communication is important, no matter how hard the truth.

But, not to spoil the story at all, it does have an ending to suit the lovely, sunny, uplifting book cover. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, it wasn't entirely what I was expecting but in a good way.  I want to read Jenna's Journey now.

I gave this book 5/5 stars


  1. Awesome Dawn. Sounds like you really 'got' the story. Fab review :)

    Thank you for supporting on tour.


  2. I'm reading Jenna's secret at the moment x

  3. Great review xx yes I am stalking your blog xx