- Title: When the Cypress Whispers
- Author: Yvette Manessis Corporon
- Genre: Women’s Fiction
- Published: April 2014 – Harper
- Source: Publisher
Synopsis: 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. (publisher)
My take: This is a lovely novel that mixes mythology and old world tradition with modern success. But what is success for one person is not for another. What makes for a happy life is not necessarily what Daphne thought as she grew up trying to leave the old-fashion ways of her parents and older relatives back in Greece. She decides to be married in Greece so her grandmother can be there. After a few days back Daphne remembers the simple pleasures of summers spent on Erikousa when she was younger. She also sees her young daughter come to life again as she learns the old stories and experiences the wonders the island has to offer.
I loved reading Yvette Manessis Corporon’s book. The characters, setting and story completely engaged me. I’d love to see a film version. There’s no doubt tourism in Greece would increase exponentially! I say if you can’t travel to Greece the next best thing would be to read When the Cypress Whispers.