Tuesday, April 1, 2014

G270 Book Review of When the Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon

Name of Book: When the Cypress Whispers

Author: Yvette Manessis Corporon

ISBN: 978-0-06-226758-9

Publisher: Harper Collins

Type of book: Greece, 1990s, 2000s, grandmother/granddaughter relationship, Erikousa, island life, friendship, mother/daughter relationship, immigrant experiences, New York, goals, traditions vs modern life, magic, Greek myths, brief mention of WWII

Year it was published: 2014


On a beautiful Greek island, myths, magic, and a colorful cast of characters come together in a lushly atmospheric story about past and present, family and fate, love and dreams that poignantly captures the deep bond between an American woman and her Greek grandmother

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she's been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family's old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place.

Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne's fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband's unexpected death.

After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fianc?-everything she's ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne's new life- and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter- stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again.


My favorite character from the book happens to be Yia-yia, Daphne's grandmother. There is something fragile and likable about her, and I also admired that she tended to be old fashioned in some ways instead of being more of modern sort. I really grew to love Yia-yia. I also liked Daphne who is a talented chef but at the same time caught up between expectations from culture and society and that of herself. Being a child of immigrants myself, I understood her dilemma and really did cheer for her to discover more about herself and culture instead of cutting it off, which is something that life in New York has forced her to do. I also liked Popi and would have wanted for her character to be there too. Popi is Daphne's cousin and one of her best friends. She is very straightforward and is confident. There is also Yianni who happened to be Yia-yia's best friend and did his best to look after her. There is Evie the daughter who is struggling to understand the myth of Arachne and hubris as well as learn more about the culture that she was shut off from. There are few other characters, but they weren't as memorable as ones I mentioned.


Reflecting on the story of Arachne and Athena, I also am guessing that she is saying, trying to be great comes with suffering.


Its written in third person narrative, 98 or so percent from Daphne's point of view, while once-in-a-while other characters such as Yia-yia or few others also told of their points of views. For me personally, the atmosphere had sort of a sparkle in it, and its a book that I didn't want to leave easily. I think I would have wanted more scenes between Daphne and Yianni, but still I felt its a very beautiful novel. If there are mistakes and whatnot, I was too caught up to notice them.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

Yvette Manessis Corporon is an Emmy Award-winning writer, producer, and author. She is currently a senior producer with the syndicated entertainment news show Extra. In addition to her Emmy Award, Yvette has received a Silurian Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the New York City Comptroller and City Council’s Award for Greek Heritage and Culture. She is married to award-winning photojournalist David Corporon. They have two children and live in New York.
Find out more about Yvette at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.


Wow, reading this book is like revisiting another favorite one, The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri. The book had the same mythical fairytale atmosphere, likable characters, a safe place, a hint of magic, little known tidbits and exploration of an unfamiliar culture. I also loved the strong relationships between Daphne and her grandmother and how she grows to understand her grandmother and what she truly wants instead of letting someone else dictate the life for her. What was very unique is that there is mention of Holocaust in the book, and how people in Greece tried to protect the Jews instead of throwing them to the wolves. (Guess I'll have to research this part.) which is something I never learned or even knew. The book isn't dark or tragic despite this, but I think hiding and protecting the Jews was included because I doubt that many people are familiar with that. (I certainly wasn't!) I also enjoyed the community life and would honestly wish I could live somewhere like that. One minor thing that I didn't really believe is the chemistry between Daphne and Yianni. Something that's interesting is the use of Greek myths from Ovid rather than what I would think of as genuine Greek myths. (Cupid and Psyche, Arachne the spider come from Ovid if I'm not mistaken.)

This is for TLC Book Tour

Yvette’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 1st: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, April 1st: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, April 2nd: BookNAround
Thursday, April 3rd: A Bookish Affair
Monday, April 7th: Sweet Tea and Lollipops
Tuesday, April 8th: From L.A. to LA
Wednesday, April 9th: A Novel Review
Thursday, April 10th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, April 14th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, April 15th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, April 16th: Book Dilettante
Wednesday, April 16th: The Infinite Shelf
Thursday, April 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, April 21st: Always With a Book
Tuesday, April 22nd: Doing Dewey
Wednesday, April 23rd: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, April 24th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, April 29th: Dwell in Possibility
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. I love the combination of mythology, romance, and history. Sounds like a great read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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