Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Echoes of Love an amazing historical fiction book set mainly during WWII with some romance and it’s a book which has been one of my favourites to read this year! You can read my review as well as more about the book and author below, but first I’d just like to say a huge thank you to HQ for the chance to be a part of this tour and for a copy of the book. Now let’s see why I enjoyed this book so much…
Title: The Echoes of Love
Author: Jenny Ashcroft
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance
Book format: Hardback
Description: Under the Cretan sun, in the summer of 1936, two young people fall in love…
Eleni has been coming to Crete her entire life, swapping her English home for cherished sun-baked summers with her grandfather in his idyllic shoreside villa. When she arrives in 1936, she believes the long, hot weeks ahead will be no different to so many that have gone before.
But someone else is visiting the island that year too: a young German named Otto. And so begins a summer of innocence lost, and love discovered; one that is finite, but not the end.
When, in 1941, the island falls to a Nazi invasion, Eleni and Otto meet there once more. But this time Eleni has returned to fight for her home, and Otto to occupy it. They are enemies, and their love is not only treacherous, but also dangerous. But will it destroy them, or prove strong enough to overcome the ravages of war?
An epic tale of secrets, love, loyalty, family and how far you would go to keep those you love safe. The Echoes of Love is also an exquisite and deeply moving love letter to Crete – one that will move every reader to tears.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: Oh wow what an emotional and beautiful story! 1936, and Eleni is visiting her grandfather, her papou, on the Greek island of Crete for the summer. Enjoying her days away from England, Eleni soon finds herself attracted to and falling for a man staying in the villa next to hers. Otto and his family are staying in Crete for the summer before heading back home to Germany. When Otto meets Eleni he’s attracted to her too and the pair end up spending the rest of their summer together and falling in love. But four years later, the Second World War rages and the two of them no longer keep in touch. And when Eleni ends up back in Crete to help with the resistance movement, she soon discovers that Otto is there too. But will the love they shared all those years ago bring them together or will it tear them apart?
I can’t believe how much I have loved this book, I’m still reeling from reading it! Eighteen year old Eleni ends up on holiday for the summer in Crete, visiting her Papou, like she does every year, but in 1936 she meets a young German man called Otto and the two end up drawn to each other and eventually fall in love. I love how this story begins, showing us Eleni’s life in Crete and how wonderful life there is in 1936. I enjoyed getting to know Eleni and her family and friends and how she can’t help but be drawn to the young German staying in a neighbouring villa.
As the story moves on and Eleni and Otto get closer, the book switches for a bit between 1936 and 1940, showing Eleni’s life in England during the war, sometime after her last encounter with Otto. I like what ends up happening to Eleni, how she ends up meeting a man called Hector and what she ends up doing, heading eventually back to Crete to help in the resistance during the war. After that the book focuses on the war years with the occasional switch to an interview conversation someone unknown to us is having in 1974. I found this interview interesting as it helps move along some of the story in different parts as well as leaving you with more questions as you slowly start to discover some of what is revealed.
At first I enjoyed the romance blossom between Otto and Eleni and how things went with them even after Otto and Eleni return home from their summer holidays. I have to say I found myself really enjoying their relationship and how beautifully everything was going. When the war begins it gets more exciting though and I found myself even more interested in the story as Eleni begins doing some serious war work in London and then Crete. I love what happens and how detailed this book is with so many things happening, but without ever being confusing or difficult to read. I found myself so drawn into the story that I just couldn’t put this book down, constantly wanting to know what happened to Eleni and later Otto too.
The book keeps switching viewpoints between Eleni and Otto throughout, although always in the third person perspective, and I like how we see what is happening from Otto’s point of view, especially when the war begins. The story keeps you guessing as to what will happen and has happened in the years between 1936 and 1940, and I found myself several times guessing the wrong thing about a person or situation, especially the later into the novel I got. I love how the author has so cleverly made me believe something or a certain person was a certain way and then completely surprised me when it turned out differently.
There is such a dramatic ending to the story, moments that shocked me and made me want to cry, and twists that kept coming and made me enjoy reading this so much. The ending is good although if I’m honest it’s not exactly the ending I was hoping for, but it’s such a lovely and beautiful ending to the book as a whole, with a lovely last chapter and epilogue showing what has happened afterwards with so many of the different characters, that it made it feel like an almost perfect ending considering all the characters have been through. I felt like crying when I finished the book, I still do writing this review. I feel like I’ve been on such a journey with Eleni and Otto and I just didn’t want it to end. It’s a beautiful novel with such a wonderful story of the romance and what happens next. I liked the added notes from the author at the end, detailing what parts of the story are based on reality, and how close this book is to the author’s own family.
After reading this I really want to visit Crete and the places mentioned in the story and in the author’s notes. This book really brought to life the beauty of the island, the descriptions of it so wonderful, and the beauty of first love and it’s made me feel so emotional, both sad and happy. I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves a good and emotional historical fiction set during WWII especially if you also love a romantic story too. But be prepared to get emotional as there are moments and some deaths mentioned which are sad. It’s such a brilliant novel though and I have fallen in love with it so much, I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year!
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About the Author
Jenny Ashcroft is the author of several historical novels, including Beaneath a Burning Sky and Island in the East. She previously spent much of her life living in, working in, and exploring Australia and Asia, and now splits her time between Australia and the UK. The Echoes of Love is in part inspired by her Greek grandmother’s stories and is Jenny’s most personal novel to date.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my stop on the blog tour for this amazing book. Please do check out the other stops on the tour by looking at the banner below. 🙂
What do you think of this book? Have you ever been to or wanted to visit the island of Crete? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂