The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou
Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time. Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture. Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost? A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn’t always as imagined.
Cyprus – The Island of Aphrodite
Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about Cyprus as part of the blog tour celebrating the release of my second novel, The Summer Will Come, on the 25th March. Cyprus is a country you can’t talk about without mentioning the passion of its people, the beautiful climate, landscapes and history. It’s a country full of the hospitality that is so much a part of its people as it is of its culture and traditions.
It’s the homeland of my parents and their parents and ancestors before them going back many generations and although I’m British born I have a deep love and affinity with the island said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Tourists flock to Aphrodite’s Rock where she’s said to have risen from the waters and thousands visit her birthplace in the mountains of Paphos, where a waterfall marks the Baths of Aphrodite. I’ve been lucky enough to bathe in them before health & safety regulations made bathing in the waters unauthorised.
Cyprus is also the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea situated at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa – and it’s the only country in the world which has its capital city divided into two halves marked by the United Nations Green Line – a peacekeeping line – which separates the Turkish north and the Greek Cypriot south of the island. So strictly speaking the country should be referred to as the Republic of Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
The country is also quite unique in that it is the only one whose flag depicts the map of the country on it and has been in use since August 16th, 1960 when Cyprus gained independence from Britain.
If you’ve never visited Cyprus there’s so much to do and see there from lounging on the beautiful sandy beaches to nature walks and trails, visiting old villages and towns, castles and forts as well as the many ancient ruins. It has beaches and mountains, rugged inner terrain and quaint villages which haven’t changed in centuries. The climate is such that it is warm for nine months of the year and so you can enjoy a holiday there pretty much any time between March and November. Tourism is a major source of income for the island and its people. There are orchards of fruit trees splashing colour across the dry earth in summer; lemon, orange, pomegranate, apricot, carob and almond trees as well as fig trees and prickly pear plants. These are things I didn’t see growing up in the UK! I remember as a child, my parents pulling the car over on a dusty road and picking the fruit. It tasted like real fruit; sweet, earthy, whole. I will always remember the vibrancy of the colours against the dull browns of the mountains and the scattered villages creating a patchwork of little white painted stone houses.
However, Cyprus’s modern history has, in contrast, been dominated by enmity between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants. And it is Cyprus’ turbulent history and its more recent history which inspired me to write the book The Summer Will Come. My research took me back to the early 1950s when the country was under British occupation. Despite the invasion of the island by Turkey in 1974, the people of Cyprus still hope for unification and for many it will give them the chance to return ‘home’.
The green line
Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.
Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education. She is a mother of three boys.
She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes as well as proof reading and other writing services.
Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.
When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!
She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and The Summer Will Come is her second novel. She is currently working on a third novel Trust is a Big Word about an on-line illicit relationship that develops between two people.
***Don’t miss the other bloggers, on the blog tour***