Author: Effie Kammenou
Publisher: Self Published
Part of a Series: The Gift Saga
Type of book: Greece, 1999-2005, friendship, loyalty, marriage, married life, family, Greece, choices, 9/11, devotion, loyalty
Year it was published: 2016
Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift …
In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.
Evanthia's Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.
Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.
There are a whole lot of characters, each well drawn from major to minor. I will focus on the Honey Hill Girls though. Sophia was the protagonist of Evanthia's Gift who recently reunited with her long-time love Dean. She is a dancer and through the next six years seems to have to endure quite a number of upheavals. She has a very strong support system in terms of family and friends who will always make sure to back her up, Amy is a friend but is not close to the women as others are. She is a congresswoman who has a dark secret that no one but Sophia knows. Donna is a close friend who has two sons and is married to a former prom king. Donna seems to be more surviving rather than thriving in life. Mindy is another close friend who is a redhead and is a famous fashion designer who made important choices but at times isn't happy with them. Unlike her friends, she is the only who isn't married and doesn't have children. Demetra is Sophia's friend and younger sister of her husband. She is close to other women.
Friendship is important
The story is in third person narrative from the Honey Hill Girls, from Sophia, Demetra, Mindy, Amy and Donna's points of views. It also is a unique sequel because for one it seems to be a supplement to Evanthia's Gift, expanding the world of Sophia, but at the same time it's a sequel, beginning in 1999 and ending in 2005. The history is not felt nor noticed, and this particular book helped me quite a bit recall my time from middle school to high school. I do wonder how the author will continue on the series since the books are quickly catching up to present time, but I highly look forward to returning to her characters in the future.
(From the book)
Effie Kammenou is the author of the debut novel, Evanthia's Gift: Book One in the Gift Saga, an award finalist in teh women's fiction category for The Reader's Favorite Book Awards.
Her writing is influenced by her Greek heritage and family history, as well as her life growing up on Long Island.
Few years back, I've had a chance to read and enjoy the wonderful Evanthia's Gift, first book of the series by the author. When I heard that there will be a sequel to Evanthia's Gift, I was overjoyed, and this book didn't disappoint. Just like with Evanthia's Gift, the story of the 'Honey Hill Girls' is all too real and too human. I am sad to admit that I hadn't experienced the friendship in my life that Sophia and her friends have, but I enjoyed reading about it, and getting to know the girls on a deeper level than in Evanthia's Gift. Although I loved reading the story and I loved how unpredictable the resolutions to the girls' lives were, I really would have wished that towards the end the author didn't seem to be in a hurry, and also, I feel that in some cases, the reader doesn't spend enough time with Demetra nor Amy. For example, the relationship between Amy and her family isn't as well drawn as one between Sophia and her family. I think I also wanted to see a bit more of Demetra's married life,and towards the end Mindy's subplot seemed to be hurried in my opinion. Minus the minor complaints, this is a story of life and how each woman finds a different happy ending, and most of endings are ones that cannot be foreseen. It is good as a stand-alone novel, but for more enjoyment, I would highly recommend that the reader reads Evanthia's Gift.
I was given this book for an honest review
4 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.)