What I loved most about this story was the Greek influence; and whilst the majority of the story is set in the US, the whole Greek family thing shines through, and I really recognise that from my time in Greece and spending time with my Greek friends. Family is everything in this culture, and whilst sometimes it can feel a little overpowering for family members, everything usually revolves around food! The addition of recipes throughout the story is welcome and quite wonderful, I recognised many of my favourites amongst them.
This is a vast story, and I'll admit that I thought that it was a little too long, there were times at the beginning where I felt that there was a little too much description. Overly long passages that didn't really add a lot to the story, and then later, there are lots of skipped years. However, the author writes well, with authenticity and warmth and despite some of my minor criticism, I did enjoy the story very much.
I have the next in the saga on my shelf waiting to be read, and I'm looking forward to it.
Evanthia's Gift: The Gift Saga Book 1 chronicles the life of a Greek-American family. As such, we get to learn about the Greek culture and how it is preserved in a foreign country through generations. The recipes at the start of some chapters certainly help to enhance the story. And if it's location you want, Evanthia's Gift offers that too, but Effie Kammenou, unwittingly perhaps, shows us that even in New York, a place of many nations, Ana still prefers her own kind when it comes to those she keeps the closest. As the story progresses, the plot reveals a number of fissures crackling beneath the surface - marriages falter and children stray. In the end, this is a universal story of love, pain, hope, and dreams made exceedingly colorful and interesting because it unravels through generations and between two completely different cultures.
From the Author
My mom spoke of her childhood in Greece often, and I used what she told me to create a fictional story, one that was very loosely based on true events. Her accounts of WWII, her journey to America, and the history of her family all came into play.
My dad had his own stories, and at ninety-four years old, he is still feeding me family history and memories from his childhood.
The story itself just developed as I wrote it, and the basic plot that I had in my mind for some time, flourished into a story more detailed than I'd expected.