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 Fortini, 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...
S 2007 British Book Awards: Newcomer of the Year
S 2007 British Book Awards: Book of the Year