Book Title: Mine to Avenge
Author: Kerry Letheby
Publisher: Love of Books
Expected Release: April 2013
Source: Courtesy of Author – Kerry Letheby
4 / 5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When Alcandor is blamed for the tragic death of his friend’s sister in Greece in 1940, little does he know of the repercussions this will have for him and his family for the next seventy years.
Unable to forgive himself, and wanting to give his young family a new start, Alcandor leaves Greece and brings his family to settle in the Riverland of South Australia in 1948.
Although Greece and his past are far behind him, Alcandor harbours a terrible secret and he remains a fearful man. Alcandor subdues his fear, and he and his family adapt to an idyllic life of freedom and opportunity.
However, eighteen years after leaving Greece, Alcandor learns that his past has caught up with him. His family needs to know the truth, but circumstances tragically intervene before he can warn them. Years later, Alcandor’s sons show signs of odd behavior hinting at possible mental instability, before disappearing without a trace. And in the next generation, Alcandor’s grandson exhibits the same strange behaviour not long before he is killed in the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
It is not until 2010 that Alcandor’s great- granddaughter, Alethea, discovers that there is far more behind her family’s tragic history than mental illness, and little does she know that the threat against her family is much closer than she realises, and very far from over.
I am very grateful to Australian author Kerry Letheby for sending me a copy of Mine to Avenge. I enjoyed this book very much on a number of levels and appreciate the research, time, energy and talent that has gone into its crafting.
My first reaction to Mine to Avenge was when I unwrapped the packaging and held it in my hands. I loved the look and feel of this book, from the classy cover to the crisp white pages, it is a book that is just nice to look at and to hold. This positive first impression is always a good sign and already had me feeling favorably towards the book.
Usually I’m reading to a close deadline but I decided to start early and take my time reading this book and boy am I glad I did! Mine to Avenge is not just a light weekend read. It is full of rich characters and a complex three generational saga of love and vengeance. I was very grateful for the family tree chart Ms Letheby provided in the front of the book and I referred to it often as I tried to keep the character relationships straight in my mind.
Not only did I enjoy the generational saga but there were historical and social elements to the book that I found most interesting. I really enjoyed learning of Alcandor and Caterina’s Galanos life in their home country Greece. Historically I was interested in the time period setting during WWII and civil war in Greece and Alcandors involvement in the resistance during this time.
I certainly didn’t learn anything about Greece and its history as part of WWII in my modern history classes at school so I was also very interested to read about the threat of forced evacuation of children during this time. Already it was evident to me that a considerable amount of research had been done by Ms Letheby for the writing of this book and I always appreciate a work of fiction that manages, as Mine to Avenge did, to spark my interest in doing further reading / research around new facts learnt.
My only issue with this first part of the book was that I felt there was a lot of telling rather than showing of the characters and events in the writing style and so it took me a while to connect with the characters and warm to the story but once I did I was hooked.
Following the story to the Riverlands of South Australia the reader is treated by Ms Letheby to an insight into how immigrants integrate into to their new culture slowly over time. This was evident in how Alcandor had no expectation of his eldest daughter going to high school yet years later there was no question or resistance to his youngest daughter attending; how though considered important to learn the new language they tried hard to also retain and reinforce the Greek language and customs yet despite this Alcandor and Caterina’s did not adhere to the Greek custom of arranging marriages for their children. I was intrigued to see this assimilation taking place thoughout the book and down through the generations.
The plot was intriguing and engaging throughout the book with enough twists and turns to keep me turning the pages with anticipation and at times quite some anxiety as to what was going to come next.
While I was able to predict some of the upcoming events there was a significant twist which I had definitely not seen coming and in fact it was so far out of left field that (without giving anything away) I just could not reconcile the actions of one of the main characters with their characterization and personality from earlier in the book. This left me feeling unsettled towards the ending but rather than taking anything away from the book it left me thinking about it quite some days after I had finished reading it.
Mine to Avenge is a masterful telling of a complex and intriguing story which I highly recommend as an engaging read.
Please check out my official blog tour post ( interview with antagonist) HERE
Stop by my friend Marcia’s blog Book Muster Down Under to read her review of Mine to Avenge