On a beautiful Greek island, myths, magic, and a colorful cast of characters come together in When the Cypress Whispers, Yvette Manessis Corporon’s lushly atmospheric story about past and present, family and fate, love and dreams that poignantly captures the deep bond between an American woman and her Greek grandmother.
The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she’s been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family’s old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place.
Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne’s fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death.
After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fiancé—everything she’s ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne’s new life— and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter— stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again.
The power of family tradition and heritage is compassionately explored in Corporon's debut about Daphne, a Greek-American woman who, having lost her husband and the father of her daughter, Evie, in a car accident in the U.S., tries to rebuild the pieces of her life in Greece. Daphne, the stressed-out owner of a high-end Greek restaurant in New York, finally gets some relief by taking the five-year-old, Evie, to the Greek island, Erikousa, where she spent idyllic summers as a child with her grandmother, "Yia-yia." She plans to get married there to her wealthy fianc , Stephen, whom Daphne met while applying for a loan to start the restaurant. Upon arrival, she clashes with a fisherman named Yianni, who is a close friend of her grandmother but suspicious of Americanized Greeks like Daphne. As Daphne tries to reconcile the traditions that mean so much to her with the reality of what a future would be like with the no-nonsense, work-centered Stephen, she uncovers the story (based on fact) of how the people of Erikousa saved the life of a Jewish family during WWII. Corporon, a senior producer with the entertainment show Extra, can tell a good tale, and her love for her Greek heritage permeates the story, but the trajectory of Daphne's transformation is muddied by melodrama and ambiguity.
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An absolute must read!!
I read this cover to cover in one night...a book that cannot be put down...an intricately woven personal story, with the lesson that one courageous person can truly make a difference