I’ve read most of Victoria Hislop’s books now but this is still my favourite. It’s the story of Alexis, a woman who goes to Greece in search of her family’s past, something her mother refused to talk about. She travels to Plaka, a village on Crete where her mother was born and realises it is right next to the tiny island of Spinalonga. And so the tragic tale of her family’s past begins to unfold. For much of the 20th century Spinalonga was Greece’s leper colony – one of the last in Europe. It only closed in 1957. I knew nothing about Spinalonga until picked this book up. But a few years ago we went to Crete and took a boat from Plaka to the island and walked around it. It was so eerie. The streets are still there, as is the lepers’ entrance to the island known as Dante’s Gate. Victoria Hislop has captured life on that island so well in her book that I could almost see the characters walking past me.