08 September, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Women in the Resistance, and other war history by Chrissie Parker

*** Special Feature - September 2017 ***

About the Author:

Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published five books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post, The Zakynthos Informer, Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation.
Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013. In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won an historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.

Contact the Author:

Women in the Resistance, and other war history.

Among the Olive Groves is very much a work of fiction. The characters and story are completely made up, but if you look hard enough in the World War Two sections you will find a lot of facts that have been carefully woven into the story to give it as much authenticity as possible.  Elena Petrakis, the lead character never actually existed, she is simply a fictitious person thought up for the sake of a story, but if you read any history books relating to Greece during World War Two, there are many accounts about women who joined and fought for the Resistance. There are so many stories of their incredible bravery and sacrifice, and somehow they are more harrowing to read than accounts of male Resistance fighters. Because of this, I felt it was important that Elena became the Resistance fighter in Among the Olive Groves instead of Angelos. Elena, as a woman and a mother, had so much more to fight for, and so much more to lose in the end.  

Many other parts of the book are also based in fact, including the rescue of the islands Jewish population. Out of respect, I changed the names of the characters, but the depiction of what took place is as accurate as I could make it from the information of the time. The brave story of the Mayor and Bishop (Loukas Karrer and Bishop Chrysostomos as they were known in real life) was something that I felt needed to be told, as many people have no idea that it actually happened. 
To potentially sacrifice themselves to the Germans in order to save the lives of 275 islanders is beyond heroic, and that bravery should never be forgotten.

Researching the book was difficult. None of the Museums in Greece have any information about Zakynthos during the war, and sadly much of the information that had been gathered and kept about the islands history in the local library etc. was destroyed, when a massive earthquake struck Zakynthos in 1953, reducing much of the main town and other areas on the island, to rubble.
In the end my Zakynthos World war Two research came from one book of information, and a number personal accounts from those who had lived through the war, along with a few small articles on the internet. Despite the struggles I had researching, I did find the right information, and what I discovered was incredibly interesting, and tried to weave as much of it as I reasonably could, into the story. A few Zakynthians kindly read the book for me before it was published and confirmed that not only was the information correct, but that it also portrayed the island very much as it used to be.  

Many people ask why I chose to write Among the Olive Groves and the answer is simple. To me, it’s more than just a book. It’s a way of showing readers what a beautiful place Zakynthos is, and why it should be visited, as well as enabling the islands history, and heroic deeds to stay alive in the minds of readers, and those who visit the island. 
War torn Zakynthos was part of something much bigger and its residents had no choice but to fall to the Italians and Germans, but the Greek population still fought for themselves and for what they believed in. There were so many brave people like Elena Petrakis that lived through World War Two, and fought bravely. A great number of them were women, something that many people just don’t realise. Even now I think we could all learn a lot from those incredibly brave women, and my character Elena Petrakis.

About the Book:
It is 1938, and a young Elena Petrakis lives on the small Greek Island of Zakynthos. Life for Elena is quite, traditional and typically Greek. One day she meets a local young man, Angelos Sarkis and they strike up a friendship. Soon their friendship turns to love, but when Elena falls pregnant Angelos's father is furious and he bans Angelos from seeing Elena again, and forces Angelos to marry another woman. 
World War Two breaks out and Zakynthos is unable to escape invasion. Islanders are pitted against each other under the watchful eye of the Italian D'Aqui division. Elena hates the war and everything it stands for. She joins the resistance to fight for what she believes in, her freedom, and her daughters right to live in a peaceful world, but Elena finds herself drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In the end Elena realises that the only way through the madness of war is to makes the greatest of sacrifices. 
Decade’s later, in 1991, a young Cornish woman Kate Fisher is celebrating her 21st birthday. Her happiness is short-lived however when she finds out that she is adopted. The news shakes her and her world falls apart. She argues with her best friend Fletch, and they stop talking, which makes things worse for her. Kate tries her best to carry on, but finds it impossible. 
Ten years later Kate has moved from her home in Cornwall to Bristol, having tried her best to re-start her life, but she is stuck in a rut and unable to move on, her adoption and loss of her friendship with Fletch still haunting her. In the end Kate flees to Zakynthos, in Greece where she is finally forced to face the harsh reality of her past. What she discovers completely changes her life. 

Buy Links:

Signed Paperback Copy +  a Greek Eye necklace to an UK Winner.
E-copy (all versions available) of the book for an international winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This book seems interesting. However, I have not read it yet. But, reading your review, I am eager to buy it to read this weekend.
    Ashley Sewell | Dissertation writing services

  2. Your post is very useful. I just read it from start to finish on your blog. Thank you for this useful information and keep sharing valuable posting like this
    new jersey divorce statutes
    new jersey no fault divorce law
    new jersey no fault state divorce