Review: Maria’s Island

With its full colour illustrations and detail in the chapter beginnings and ending, this book is a joy to look at.

Gill Smith’s illustrations depict the rich landscape of the village of Plaka in Crete, where this novel is set.

This tells the story of the young girl, Maria, who has a carefree life in her 1940’s fishing village. 

Her mother is the schoolteacher and her father a fisherman.

But an island off the coast of her village is a dark place, a place surrounded by mystery and fear.

It is the place where people infected by Hanson’s disease – then known as leprosy, are sent to spend the rest of their lives isolated from the rest of society.

The village children are equally fascinated and scared.

When tragedy strikes Maria’s family, she learns to dig deep and to draw upon reserves of empathy, courage and resilience to battle stigma and to face up to a huge challenge.

This is the children’s version of the bestselling book by Victoria Hislop, The Island.

Whilst the subject matter appears quite confronting, Hislop handles it with sensitivity and humour. It was a compelling read. And now I want to go and find the original version for adults.

Title: Maria’s Island
Author: Victoria Hislop
Illustrator: Gill Smith
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 2 June, 2021
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781406399073
For ages: 8-12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction

June 17, 2021 at 02:39AM Jo-Ann S