The place seemed utterly still, the only sound was the wind rustling high in the pines above. Standing there, realizing she didn’t even know which house had belonged to her grandmother, Ava wondered just how crazy and desperate she’d been to come all this way with no hope or plan.
When Ava arrives in Greece, it’s with a heart that’s shattered into a thousand pieces. But as she pulls up in a tiny village nestled on a cliff above the glittering Ionian Sea, and steps out in front of a tumbledown house that once belonged to her grandmother Sophia, everything changes.
At first Ava almost wants to laugh at this bizarre inheritance—a home that has been uninhabited since the Second World War—that appears as close to collapse as she herself feels. But with nowhere left to run to, her only choice is to start putting the house together again.
What Ava doesn’t expect is for pieces of her grandmother’s story to emerge, as a local survivor from the war begins to share her secrets. Ava can’t help but be drawn to Sophia’s hidden past… even though the truth could change her own life forever.
Because Sophia’s story is one of devastating choices she had to make during the Nazi invasion of her beloved country. It’s a story of bravery, betrayal and tragedy. But most of all, it is a story about love…
An utterly unforgettable story of two remarkable women who find the strength to persevere against all odds and find hope, courage and light in the darkness. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, The Lilac Girls and Victoria Hislop’s The Island.
In Beyond the Olive Grove we meet two protagonists. Sophia has lived throughout the war in Greece, whereas Ava is living in the present day. Despite them living in very different times these women have more in common than you think, with both of them having to deal with unimaginable pain and loss – albeit in very different forms – they have both had to show real strength and resilience in order to survive.
These two women share a much deeper connection though, as Sophia is in fact Ava’s grandmother. Sophia is incredibly closed off and refuses to share details of her life in Greece, something Ava has always struggled to understand, so when her grandmother leaves her the old house in the small Greek village of Iousidous, and with Ava in desperate need of an escape from all of the turmoil in her life, she seizes the opportunity to escape for a little while and learn more about her elusive grandmother in the process.
Ava has separated from her husband Simon as the loss of their unborn child proves too much of a strain on their already struggling marriage. Leaving her life in England behind is a huge step for her to take, but one that she feels is entirely necessary, and it isn’t long before the people who live within Iousidous befriends her and makes her feel welcome. As she tries to learn more about her family and find people who may know more about her grandmother, Ava finds herself on an emotional rollercoaster of discovery and acceptance as Sophia’s true character comes to light and Ava uncovers what has made her the introverted person she is today.
Every time I pick up a book by Kate Hewitt I know I am about to embark on a truly immersive journey alongside the vibrant characters that she so wonderfully brings to life within the story. Both Ava and Sophia are complex individuals who have lived through some truly devastating times in their lives, and it is these life experiences that make them the people they are in the present day.
I loved exploring the story through the different perspectives of both women and found myself really connecting with them as the story progresses. Yet another unforgettable read by the wonderful Kate Hewitt.
About the Author
Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of many books of both historical and contemporary fiction. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.
She likes to read women’s fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.
Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and two Golden Retrievers.
*Thank you to Sarah Hardy at Bookouture and Kate Hewitt for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.*