14/01/2007

Greek Wedding (by Jane Aiken Hodge)

'Greek Wedding' by Jane Aiken Hodge is a historical novel set in the 19th century during the Greek wars for independence, a period I know little about. However that didn't affect my enjoyment of this novel, which combines exciting history with a low-key romance.

The novel opens on a ship moored in Constantinople. Brett Renshaw is in despair, considering killing himself, when his ship is hailed by two women dressed in Turkish costume. He has no desire to help them, but his crew are more generous, and he finds himself burdened with Phyllida and her aunt Cassandra, who have managed to escape.

There are chases, piracy, battles, kidnap, treachery... all the ingredients of a thriller, yet written from the point of view of the main characters, with a very human touch that kept me reading. The ending was slightly contrived, with various characters converging unexpectedly and coincidentally, but since I like stories to have satisfactory and tidy endings, I didn't really have a problem with this.

I did skim some of the battle scenes, although they were well-written without too much gore; but I'm not terribly interested in military history and quickly lost track of who was whom amongst the leaders mentioned by name, most of whom I assume were real people. But still I finished the book in just three days, finding it quite difficult to put down towards the end. Recommended - though this book hasn't been in print for many years, and is fairly expensive second-hand.

(Note - this book has NOTHING to do with the film 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' which was so popular a few years ago!)

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