WHEN THE CYPRESS WHISPERS by Yvette Manessis Corporon

WHEN THE CYPRESS WHISPERS

KIRKUS REVIEW

A stressed-out Greek-American restaurant owner visits her grandmother on a Greek island seemingly untouched by time (or Greece’s economic crisis) in this romantic tribute to her own roots by debut novelist Corporon, a producer of the syndicated TV show Extra.

Tragedy stalks 35-year-old single mother Daphne. Her immigrant parents were murdered in their Yonkers diner, and her husband died at the hands of a drunk driver. She now owns a flourishing high-end restaurant in Manhattan and is engaged to rich banker Stephen, who has reluctantly agreed to hold their wedding on the island of Erikousa, home of Daphne’s beloved Yia-yia, where she's spent countless happy summers. So Daphne arrives on Erikousa with her remarkably well-behaved 5-year-old daughter, Evie, to organize the occasion. Despite her life as an assimilated American, complete with nose job, Daphne soon falls back under the spell of the island’s slow-paced magic. Yia-yia retells the classic Greek myths—which pointedly parallel aspects of Daphne’s life—and reads the future in coffee dregs. Daphne finds herself relaxing and enjoys spending more time with Evie, but she's unsettled by her hostility toward the ruggedly handsome, well-educated fisherman who has befriended Yia-yia since Daphne’s last visit. That hostility melts when he shares the truth about his Jewish family’s connection to Yia-yia, who saved them from the Nazis during World War II. But by now, Stephen has arrived. Poor WASP-y Stephen. Yia-yia voices her disapproval even before she meets him, and readers’ suspicions that his engagement to Daphne is doomed are cemented when he complains that there’s no business center in the local hotel! Except for a mildly refreshing twist at the end, Corporon depends on easy sentiment and a predictable plot that has Daphne reconnecting with her Greek heritage, her faith and the special fate that rules the women of her family.

Despite Corporon’s obvious love of Greece, her manipulative storytelling is exasperating.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-226758-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2014




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