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The Island

Narrated by: Sandra Duncan
Length: 13 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (847 ratings)

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Summary

A portrayal of family ties with an authentic Cretan background, winner of Richard & Judy's Summer Read 2006, and the Sunday Times number one paperback for eight weeks

The acclaimed million-copy number one best seller and winner of Richard & Judy's Summer Read 2006. Victoria Hislop tells a dramatic tale of four generations, illicit love, violence and leprosy, from the 30s, through the war, to the present day.

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more. 

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. 

She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip.

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©2005 Victoria Hislop (P)2006 Headline Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"At last, a beach book with a heart." ( Observer

"A moving and absorbing holiday read that pulls at the heartstrings." (Evening Standard)  

"Passionately engaged with its subject." (The Sunday Times)

What listeners say about The Island

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely book

As my first audio book I was not disappointed.
This is a beautiful book, heart wrenching and painful at times but beautiful no less.
So lovely read, I really felt for the characters in the book, and lost myself in the story on many occasions.
Well worth a listen.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An engaging and moving story beautifully read

An engaging story and beautifully read by Sandra Duncan. Sometimes I have a problem with the voices which narrators use to portray different characters and I found this so with the whiny, shrill tones of the young Anna. But it did point up what an unpleasant and selfish child she was, traits which did not change in adulthood. A very moving story especially of how characters adapted to their new lives on Spinalonga, the prejudices which surround the disease of leprosy and what we can learn from the resilience, understanding and sacrifice of others. Highly recommended.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Island

I found this book fascinating. Very interesting characters. The locations are beautifully discribed. Lots of facts and information along the way. I couldn't stop listening and was quite disappointed when I got to the end.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A moving story of love against the odds

Having greatly enjoyed The Thread by the same author I downloaded this earlier book and was not disappointed. It has similarities in that it is based the same geographical area, this time Crete, and is told over many decades of the 20th century. Where The Thread encompassed love and war, The Island uses the fear and shame of leprosy as a backdrop to a love story. It's a very moving book with a sympathetic narration that carries the listener along. Recommended.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

My favourite "pick it up anywhere" book

Where does The Island rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Island is one of my favourite audiobooks. It's always downloaded to my phone, it's my "go to" for a quick listen.

What did you like best about this story?

The lovely words read by the "perfect-for-this-story" narrator who adds to the romance and the atmosphere of the book

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The romance between husband and wife though they were seperated by infection adn a stretch of water

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Very emotional, it's hard not to get wrapped up in the horrible situation of the inhabitants of the islands knowing that normality is but a stretch of water away.

Any additional comments?

Great read, cracking to listen to. I can press play and get lost for a short time. They have chosen the perfect narrator for this story

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You will get hooked!

Lovely book. Nicely told. You get sucked into the island and story and the way of life. And you learn a lot about an illness that in those days we knew little of. Its cruel in parts. But that can be life .......... You want it all to end well. A book not to be missed in my view. It will be one you remembered.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Good plot idea, shame about the writing

Such a powerful issue deserves so much better writing. The characters are predictable and cardboard - and the writing has no concept of nuance and understatement. The bad guys are too bad, the good guys are too good, and its hard to care about any of them because its all so wooden. Dramatic tension absolutely lacking - and it was just so obvious how it was going to end.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Rather predictable writing

I really wanted to enjoy this book - the theme, the idea behind it all sounded like they'd sweep me away from mundane life. Sadly, I found the descriptions all too predictable and found myself writing the script before I heard it! Just not dynamic enough for me I'm afraid.

It doesn't help that it sounded like it was being read by a slightly passionless newsreader ... sorry!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Historically accurate I’m sure, but lots of platitudes

A simplistic style of writing, with stock phrases. Character development ok but rather flat. Much longer than it needs to be. I did finish it, so I guess it had something to hold my attention. Pretty bad acting and intonation. Performance lacks imagination and ability to really understand the character’s attitudes. Maybe I’d have enjoyed the story more if I had read it myself

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a much loved story..

well worth listening to snuggled up in bed or even passing the time while donate ironing...

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jan
  • Jan
  • 07-10-12

Depressing

What disappointed you about The Island?

I just found this book so depressing and only listened to the first couple of hours a total waste of a credit for me.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sandra Duncan?

I could only read the first couple of hours.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

A total waste of a credit for me I bought this to read on holiday in Greece and was totally disappointed.

6 people found this helpful