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About Yvonne Payne
In 2001, Yvonne Payne and her husband bought a house in the back streets of Kritsa, a village that nestles in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains in the east of Crete. From their small balcony their breath-taking view looks out across cluttered rooftops, a huge church, olive groves, and the distant sea, all framed by the Thripti Mountains.
Over the next ten years, Yvonne explored eastern Crete extensively, read up on local history, myths, and legends while experiencing village customs to gain inspiration to write creatively. Luckily for Yvonne, this coincided with the opportunity to watch a fellow Kritsa resident, the English sculptor Nigel Ratcliffe, work on his beautiful stone monument dedicated to 'Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, who along with her rebel comrades, fought against Ottoman oppression in 1823. This carving became Yvonne's 'muse' as she researched and wrote her first novel. Yvonne continues to find local inspiration for further novels and her non-fiction guide, Explore Kritsa. You can read her a blog at www.kritsayvonne.com where your contributions and feedback are very welcome.
Years later, the ruling Pasha orders Rodanthe’s kidnap intent on making her his wife. Determined not to yield, Rodanthe tricks the Pasha and then flees to the mountains dressed as a young man. After joining rebels as Spanomanolis (Beardless Manolis), she draws on her unusual experiences and rare education to maintain her disguise throughout daring raids.
Now, honoured as Kritsotopoula (Girl of Kritsa), villagers celebrate Rodanthe’s exploits annually in front of a poignant stone carving. This monument portrays the moment in 1823 when brave Rodanthe's secret was exposed – a point mirrored as this story culminates with a twist.
Infused with myths and local flavour this historical adventure gives insight to customs that still shape many lives in Kritsa today.
Her injured papa, Mathaios, kneels at her graveside, begging forgiveness for his sinful decision to keep her baptismal gold a secret. He later bequests the remaining coins to her young friend Petros. A gift with consequences beyond imagination.
Kostas loved Rodanthe, but only realised this truth moments before her death. Now dependent on others for his mobility, he resolves to play a significant role in the continuing conflict.
When rebel leader Captain Kazanis leaves the graveyard, his focus is on leading the local fight for freedom. However, betrayal and grief take him far beyond his beloved Crete.
Such is the importance of Rodanthe and Kazanis, their home villages in Crete hold annual remembrance services for them, and on the Greek mainland, the place renamed The Sacred City of Missolonghi holds an annual re-enactment of the exodos in The Garden of Heroes.
'Yvonne Payne’s no-holds-barred historical adventure rips along at a breathless pace. I loved it.' - Richard Clark, acclaimed author of Eastern Crete – A Notebook and other Greek travel guides.