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…
Previously published as The Other Side of the Bridge by Katharine Swartz.
But back to this particular book: It hit home! The reason why Ava is in Greece (spoiler: the inheritance is not really the main reason she is there but merely an event in her life that helps her escape from what is haunting her) and her relationship with her husband Simon are something that is oh so familiar to me. My husband and I went through something similar. Back then, I didn't want to run away but if I had wanted to do it, Greece would be high on my list of destinations. The book is written in two timelines: One timeline follows Ava around while she tries to piece together what happened to her grandmother Sophia during the war and the other takes place during those years and follows Sophia. Both timelines are remarkable in their own way. While they differ in many aspects, they have one thing in common...both tell a story about finding the strength to persevere.
This is my third book by Kate Hewitt and she has most certainly made it to the top of my list of historical fiction authors. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a big fan of romantic novels. This particular book does have romance in it but it is not the main theme. Beyond the Olive Grove focuses on the two female MCs' emotional journey in terms of finding out how strong they actually are, learning that sometimes things are not what they seem, and dealing with loss and grief. I could put a trigger warning on this book but that would mean to spoil it for those who haven't read the book yet. So, let me limit it to a more general trigger warning label: make sure you are not going through (family-related) trauma when you pick up this book.
About the author:
Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.
Where to buy: