Book Review: The Thread by Victoria Hislop
The Thread by Victoria Hislop
This is a memorable historical saga that encompasses an astonishing period in Greek history, centred in the city of Thessaloniki. Spanning from 1917 until the modern age, this is the story of two young people, Dimitri and Katerina, and their increasingly entangled lives. But it is also representative of the tale of millions of people who are caught up in circumstances beyond their control, firstly with the swapping of Greek refugees for Moslem residents after the Greek/Turk war, and then in the Second World War with the rounding up of the Jewish community. Thessaloniki is changed forever by fire, war, fear and persecution during this tragic and dramatic time.
At the heart of the story are Katerina and Dimitri. Katerina is a refugee from Asia Minor who comes to Thessaloniki as a child. Losing her mother in the chaos, she is looked after by another woman who comes to love her as her own. Katerina plays with Dimitri as a boy, until his rich father, with his vast warehouses of fabric, finishes building a mansion by the sea and their family moves from their bustling street. But their relationship resumes again when Katerina becomes a talented seamstress for a Jewish firm and visits Dimitri’s mother to deliver dresses, and later, to do fittings with her. But war once again threatens Greece, and despite the growing attraction between the two potential lovers, Dimitri is forced to abandon his medical studies to join the fight.
This is a multi-layered, fascinating novel – a story that gets under your skin with its dramatic settings and wonderful characters. An engaging story set in a tumultuous period in history, The Thread is a must-read novel.