Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Book Review: My Map of You by Isabelle Broom

Holly Wright has had a difficult few years. After her mother's death, she's become expert at keeping people at a distance - including her boyfriend, Rupert.
But when Holly receives an unexpected letter explaining that an aunt she never met has left her a house on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the walls she has built begin to crumble. Arriving on the island, Holly meets the handsome Aidan and slowly begins to uncover the truth about the secret which tore her family apart.
But is the island where Holly really belongs? Or will her real life catch up with her first?

Look at that cover. Isn't it perfect? Can't you just imagine sitting there, in a taverna, looking out over the Ionian Sea. Well, read this book and you will feel that you really are there!

I was a little nervous about reviewing this book, because I have met the gorgeous Isabelle, book reviews editor at heat Magazine and now an author herself, on several occasions now, and she is so lovely, I was worried. Isabelle does great reviews of other books, but can she write them? And, would I like it?

Yes I am shamelessly showing off that I have met Isabelle Broom!

The answer is a resounding Nai - Which is Greek for yes! 

My Map of You is a beautifully written novel, which immerses the reader into Greek life, with all the sights, smells and sounds of the island of Zakynthos. I love the Greek Islands anyway, but Isabelle's descriptions made me want to hop on a plane right away. Mia bira parakalo!

Poor Holly; she's not had it easy. She's been hiding herself  back all this time - so much so that even she doesn't know who she is any more. She's been doing what she thinks everyone expects her to do, she has even held her boyfriend, Rupert, at arm's length. Ashamed and bitter about her late mother's alcoholism, Holly is rattled when she receives a letter from an Aunt she didn't know she had, leaving her a house in a place she's never been. She flies out to Zakynthos to sell the house, and find clues to the biggest secrets of her life.

Of course Holly falls in love with the island (who wouldn't?) and its warm, friendly inhabitants.  For the first time in her life she feels at home. There are some glorious characters here; Kostas the shop keeper, cheeky Nikos, and Annie. Oh, and then there is the hot, brooding neighbour, Aiden, who whisks her around the island on an adventure... but Holly is in love with Rupert. Isn't she?

It makes a refreshing change for the boyfriend to be a good guy in a book like this. He's not horrible to Holly at all, he adores her. He even flies out to the island to join her because he's missing her so much. For once the main character is at fault rather than her partner.

Holly's character grows as soon as she starts learning about and coming to terms with her past. She casts herself as the bad guy but is ashamed and remorseful. She is also a realist; she has a life - such that it is - back in the real world, in London.

I love that Holly doesn't care for the busy touristy resort of Laganas; she prefers the quieter traditional village life. Isabelle's love for the island really shines through the pages.

This is a story of intriguing secrets and self discovery, of friendship and love, and family. I really did enjoy reading it, and it has left me feeling very wistful for a proper Greek salad! And I would love to go on Isabelle's 'Map of You' Tour!

I've just got one final thing to say to Isabelle - Efharisto poli! To latrepsa!*

*Apologies for the poor attempts at Greek. I tried. 

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