By David Munro
Rated:4 stars ****
It is with thanks to David Munro for getting in touch with me via my blog to enquire about reviewing his book.
David Munro was born in Edinburgh and lived there until the age of 27. He was employed by a major brewery within the capital and relocated to Aberdeen, then Glasgow. David attended university and college to attain Chartered Marketer status. As an arts professional and with experience of different cultures, this lends itself to creative literature.
David’s love of history allows him the opportunity to delve into past cultures and pinnacle events. His latest novel, Georgina, has a Second World War theme, telling a story of heartache, romance and espionage.
As a writer, David’s ambition is to give his readers enjoyment through interesting stories with compelling characters. Georgina has one male and two female characters that readers will embrace. To achieve recognition in the form of a best-seller is a goal.
Hollywood, 1930. Georgina, a personable fun-loving woman, sits alone with another large glass of wine for company. She has discovered that her actor partner has gambled away their mansion and is dating a young actress. To compound matters, Georgina is under suspicion for her husband’s murder a year earlier.
Georgina leaves America for the sanctuary of far-away Crete. With a new identity, she finds work as a teacher of music. Soon, she shares a property with Elena, a beautiful raven-haired socialite who has powerful, but dubious companions.
When invaded by the Germans, Crete is thrown into turmoil. Their soldiers begin a brutal occupation of the island and hardship ensues. By chance, Georgina meets a German officer and an unlikely romance blossoms. Because of her association with Erich Hoeness, she is suspected of being a spy.
Erich is a loyal soldier, but also has a conscience. He starts to siphon German food supplies to ease some islander’s starvation. However, given German atrocities on Crete, will this compassion save him and Georgina from savage retribution?
The cover is smart and evocative and is interesting with its light and shadowing.
I like the way Eddie and Georgina are instantly introduced, there’s instant imagery and a feel for them. Georgina sits miserable, after the first 6 months with the very handsome Eddie being so happy. The year is 1931, LA and she fears her past could be reoccurring, just with a different set of people. She seems to have it all, a mansion, the guy, but all isn’t well at all as Eddie could be cheating on her with an actress. 1931 and things are changing in Hollywood, technology has come in that means talkies are on the way in and silent film is on its way out.
The way Marco Bellini is first introduced just over the phone and the shiftyness around his name adds curiosity about this now seemingly sinister character as well as the money troubles and Americans are still feeling the effects of the Wall Street Crash. It’s an interesting novel and the excitement of the newspapers announcing gambling being legalised and the Empire State Building going to open up comes across well in the writing.
Eddie is found to be not well after being involved in a crash and everything changes after his death. She finds herself in a police station being questioned and accused of killing him, either herself or contracted someone to do it for her. It adds to the intrigue.
Georgina is from Scotland, but moved to America and then starts over again in Heraklion, Crete. The words flow well as she travels by boat and there’s more to be learnt about Georgina. That time for the travelling and the getting to know characters is creatively used.
The positioning in politics and changing culture for Crete is fascinating and also told well. This isn’t a heavy read, which is good. It gently informs within conversations with Elena as the story moves along. I like this way of doing it a lot.
Georgina is introduced to Stelios Balaskas, who teaches at a school and is in a relationship with Georgina. This could perhaps have been written a bit more to allow development for the lead-up. What happens after is stronger writing.
The outbreak of war and the opinions that the characters are given is very readable and I get the feeling that good, solid research has been done and what impresses, is the natural flow of conversations from the characters. It’s interesting reading about the war from the point of view of people living within a different country to that of the UK and there’s a great sense of looking into a different country ie the UK from an outsider – Crete and what is seen as well as what is happening within Crete. It’s like a very grown-up, matter-of-fact conversation that just flows easily from page to page. The connections between what was happening between Greece, Turkey and Italy is fascinating.
The weaving of fact and fiction during the times in Crete is exceptional! It could have been heavy and sluggish, but instead it has a natural flow and is interesting and moves onwards at a decent pace and is intelligently written.
Georgina then meets Captain Hoeness and things get ever more serious and tight as the forces, deployed in Stalingrad are surrounded by the Red Army and then there’s the issue of what Italy may do. It’s all rather gripping as it goes on and there’s also an abduction plan… you’ll need to read on to discover if fears of removing someone from power leaves a vacuum or not.
With there being a prisoner of war trying to escape, concentration camps, the Red Army; the author has clearly put in a lot of work to research what was happening within many countries. There’s great detail of what happened to prisoners when Germany and their allies started to lose their grip and in what started to happen after the end of the war and it emerges even more that not everyone is who they once appeared to be. There is also what happened next when civil war broke out and the fear of both Germany on the far right and Russia on the far left and what they may do with Greece and Crete. There is intrigue as to if Erich has committed war crimes or not. The interest continues to the end in what is a fascinating book.
I recommend Georgina and I would think people who enjoy espionage and war stories or books set around Greece would enjoy this one.
If you enjoy Victoria Hislop’s books then give Georgina a try.