Friday, 23 March 2018

The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou + Excerpt


The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou
Self published on the 7th of March 2018.

One of my 2018 IndieAthon Reads

Where to buy this book:



Add The Summer Will Come to your Goodreads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time. Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland's traditions and culture. Both families' lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost? A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn't always as imagined.


1950s Cyprus is a place and time that I hadn't read about before so I was interested to discover the island through reading The Summer Will Come. Christodoulou wonderfully evokes the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of rural Greek Cypriot life and I would highly recommend having snacks to hand as you read because the descriptions of delicious fresh produce and pastries are incredibly tempting. The families' lifestyles are physically hard work, but I envied their strong sense of community and their enjoyment of simple pleasures. This apparent idyll is soon contrasted with the rising tensions of the political struggle against British rule though. Some of these scenes are very tense as no one really knows who they can trust any more. Villages and even families find themselves politically opposed to each other and, as the violence increases, many Cypriots begin planning to leave.

I loved Christodoulou's portrayals of the dreary cold of London, especially after the glorious Cypriot sunshine, and the details she imparts meant I could easily empathise with the experiences of these immigrant families. Seeing British life through others' eyes is always fascinating and the late 1950s and early 1960s were a particularly vibrant period in London. The characters struggle to adapt, some finding their new lives easier while others are mired in homesickness. The Summer Will Come is quite the emotional book to read and I found myself getting very involved in these lives and missing the characters after I had finished reading.


Excerpt


‘Where will you be residing?’ asked the official. He twiddled with his pen and Evangelia watched a bead of dripping sweat disappear into his hair line.
‘In London with my husband and my sister.’
‘Who else lives there?’
‘My sister’s three children and her husband.’
‘How big is the accommodation?’
‘It’s a four storey house. It says so in the letter.’ He carried on reading through the letter for what might have been the third time. Evangelia’s eyes squinted as she concentrated on his stubby fingers and ridged nails.
‘When did the letter come?’
‘A week ago. The post mark says September 18th.’ Evangelia pointed to the Queen’s head on the stamp, smudged by the inky frank mark imprinted across it.
The official stood tall and sashayed towards a part-glass partitioned area behind his desk where Evangelia saw him talking to another man. On the wall behind him hung a picture of HM Queen Elizabeth II and an old map of Cyprus, the glass broken in the bottom corner of the frame. The official paced the small room while the other man leafed through the paperwork.
‘Why has it taken you so long to bring the letter in?’ the official asked when he eventually came back to the front.
‘Because I’ve been working and I didn’t have anyone to mind the children, so I’m finally here. I had to bring them with me.’ She felt the pressure mounting aware of the heat and the vast number of people who had now filled the space behind her.
‘So you want to travel together with the children and your mother and the Kyriakides Family in April, not next year but the year after…in 1958? In eighteen…nineteen months’ time?’
‘Yes. I have a lot to organise before then. And I need time to save for the tickets.’ Evangelia knew this was an understatement and the undertaking was sure to involve the most tremendous preparations and planning.
‘And the Kyriakides?’
‘We’d like to travel together. I have all their paperwork here,’ she said again wondering why he kept asking the same questions.
‘I can’t authorise their papers. They have to come here in person.’
‘But I said I would…’
‘Those are the rules. They are not family. They can come any time with the paperwork.’
‘Very well. I will tell them.’
The official stared at her askance and hesitated before taking out a pad in triplicate. He filled out the details painfully slowly. His writing was small, rigid. He held onto the ink pen at an odd angle, dragging the nib across the page leaving tear marks on it. Just like him, thought Evangelia, hard, but inside she thanked God, grateful things were now at long last moving in the right direction even though the mundanity of the process was agonising.
She looked apologetically to the crowd of people behind her, noisily pushing their way towards the three desks at the front. He got up a second time and went to consult with the same man again. A decision has to be imminent, she thought to herself.
‘Ade, what are we waiting for?’ called out the short obese man behind her as he now pushed against her lower back, his big belly as round and as solid as a watermelon. He called out again aggressively. ‘I’ve been waiting for over two hours!’
A couple of other men called out too taking their cue from him and she felt a surge of bodies move forward. People floundered in the heat, tired and dispirited.
Evangelia, her legs aching from standing for more than two hours, was pushed into the heavy oak table. She flinched from the pain in her abdomen. The muggy, oppressive heat strangled her. Her dress stuck to her back, the sweat damp and uncomfortable. She looked over the man’s shoulders to Elena and Andreas, chasing each other in the huge square courtyard, the ornate iron gates majestically towering over them. She watched as three other young ones joined in and wondered whether it would be as easy for her children to join in with other children in England. She wondered what sort of a life they would have. What was she taking them to?
The ceiling fans barely circulated any air and what breeze they did create was warm, stifling. She tried to reach into her bag for the flask of water she had brought with her but as she did she found herself drifting. The room spun in and out of focus around her. She held onto the desk to support herself but the nausea swaddled her. She slumped onto the tiled floor, darkness engulfing her.

Meet the author:

Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.

Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education. She is a mother of three boys. She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes as well as proof reading and other writing services. Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.

When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea! She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and The Summer Will Come is her second novel. She is currently working on a third novel Trust is a Big Word about an on-line illicit relationship that develops between two people.

Author links: 
Website ~ GoodreadsFacebook ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Soulla Christodoulou / Historical fiction / Books from England

4 comments:

  1. Thank you Stephanie for taking the time to read and to post such a thoughtful review on The Summer Will Come. I am deeply grateful to you for taking part in the book blog tour and hope that your readers will find the book just as hard to walk away from as you did! I'm delighted you enjoyed the story. Much love, Soulla x

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    1. You're very welcome!
      Thank you for visiting today :-)

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  2. Emotional books that get you involved are always great! I love anything Greek! and tales of strong sense of community! Adding all the political tension must make it so interesting!

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    1. I think this would be one you'd enjoy :-)

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