The Crimson Thread
by Kate Forsyth
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Pub Date 05 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 17 Oct 2022
In Crete during World War II, Alenka, a young woman who fights with the resistance against the brutal Nazi occupation, finds herself caught between her traitor of a brother and the man she loves, an undercover agent working for the Allies.
May 1941. German paratroopers launch a blitzkrieg from the air against Crete. They are met with fierce defiance, the Greeks fighting back with daggers, pitchforks, and kitchen knives. During the bloody eleven-day battle, Alenka, a young Greek woman, saves the lives of two Australian soldiers.
Jack and Teddy are childhood friends who joined up together to see the world. Both men fall in love with Alenka. They are forced to retreat with the tattered remains of the Allied forces over the towering White Mountains. Both are among the seven thousand Allied soldiers left behind in the desperate evacuation from Crete’s storm-lashed southern coast. Alenka hides Jack and Teddy at great risk to herself. Her brother Axel is a Nazi sympathiser and collaborator and spies on her movements.
As Crete suffers under the Nazi jackboot, Alenka is drawn into an intense triangle of conflicting emotions with Jack and Teddy. Their friendship suffers under the strain of months of hiding and their rivalry for her love. Together, they join the resistance and fight to free the island, but all three will find themselves tested to their limits. Alenka must choose whom to trust and whom to love and, in the end, whom to save.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 34 members
The Crimson Thread – Kate Forsyth
The Crimson Thread is an evocative and compelling love story set during World War II on the island of Crete, featuring a local girl Alenka and two Australian soldiers, Teddy and Jack, all of whom are trying to survive the Nazi atrocities as the German forces invade. The men, who have been best friends since childhood, find themselves in love with the same woman. War and jealousy will test their friendship to the limit. However, this is Alenka’s story and tells of the threads that bind her to her family, her home and to the man SHE loves.
The Crimson Thread recounts a history of World War II that I confess I didn’t know much about. The story is excellent, gripping and rattles along at pace. Filled with real life historical figures and memorable characters that I cared about, I found myself willing the people of Crete to survive. The Crimson Thread highlights the customs and myths of Crete and as such is very atmospheric. I loved the music, the needlework, the Morse code, the training that Teddy and Jack go through and all the details regarding the food and island life.
I thorough recommend The Crimson Thread and thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review it.
Kate Forsyth is a writer that I’m always happy to see has a new book and this one was a great read.
An historical novel set on Crete during the Second World War, it documents the bravery of the Cretan people in resisting the nazi occupation and helping the allied forces hiding in the mountains and villages. The main characters are Alenka, a young local woman and two Australian soldiers Jack and Teddy. There’s a lot of local traditions, music, food etc described and the myth of Ariadne and the Minotaur alongside the temple ruins add atmosphere to what is in many ways a story of struggle and survival. I enjoyed the gentle love story of Alenka and Jack. The character of Teddy annoyed me from the start (his ‘I saw her first’ attitude) but I didn’t expect him to be taken to the level that Forsyth does here, in fact I was impressed that she did (I think part of my dislike was an expectation that she’d just make him an Aussie larrikin). As it’s a war story obviously there are upsetting moments but it’s all well told and well written.
a beautiful story about tragedy and survival and also the first book I've read by Kate Forsyth. what an experience! excellent story, beautifully written, awesome. a historical novel set on Crete during the WWII, tells the story of Alenka, Jack and Teddy, the main character, Alenka, has this beautiful and wonderful personality. an amazing story about love, courage, history, tragedy, hope, heroism and bravery. excellent. absolutely excellent.
Wow. Just Wow. This book was INCREDIBLE. I have been looking for a WWII romance - I boy, did this one take my breath away. The setting is Crete, and you learn a lot about the German Occupation of the Island. Now, I have been a fan of Kate Forsyth's since her very first book, and I have to say each book she writes feels fresh and it is always a joy to learn of a new one that will be released! her writing is lyrical, almost poetic. I know that I will enjoy whatever she writes, and 'Crimson Thread' has taken the place of favorite. I really, really enjoyed the premise, learned a lot of history, loved the main characters, believed in the romance (which is important!) and overall spent a very happy day immersing myself into the world Ms. Forsyth created. This is an excellent book and comes highly recommended!
I loved this unique perspective on WWII. Most of the historical fiction novels I have read, set during WWII, take place in the UK or the US. This one takes place in Crete, and I loved learning about the location, the culture and the characters. This is an inspiring story full of action and romance. A lovely read!
The Crimson Thread follows a local Cretan girl Alenka as navigates the drastic life changes that come under the Nazi occupation of Crete. She meets two Australian soldiers, Teddy and Jack, who both falls in love with her, and all three characters try to fight back and win their freedoms during this stressful time in history.
I will admit that I knew next to nothing about the Nazi occupation of Greece during the war. Kate Forsyth does a brilliant job at weaving both history and fiction in a way that is compelling, intriguing, and authentic. Not only were the historic facts well researched but Crete … vivid, … in my mind I felt like I was right beside our three main characters for the whole novel.
The local traditions, food, music, and culture were described extremely well and written in a genuine manner. Greece is a country I’m dying to travel to and I’m thankful for the way this was written while I save my pennies to hopefully one day, experience this island in person.
The characters were complex, compelling, and memorable - with top-notch character developments and arcs. Each character felt real and I could easily picture my own encounters with each and every one of them. Special mention to Jack, a new favourite book boyfriend for sure. I also want to note that the author's noes at the end of this book describing who each character was based around was a very nice touch, some were historical and others were personal to the author herself.
And of course, the mythology aspect of this novel was such a wonderful touch. Not only was it written in a way that both experts and novices of the myths could enjoy them, it also linked authentically back to the story and the culture of the place.
I cannot wait to dive deeper into Kate Forsyth’s other novels and I wholeheartedly recommend The Crimson Thread. Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgallery for providing me with a copy for an honest review.
The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth
Beautifully written and thoroughly researched The Crimson Thread tells the story of Teddy and Jack, two Australian Army mates sent to Crete during the Nazi invasion. And Alenka the local Cretan girl they both fall in love with.
Although The Crimson Thread has the death, violence and despair of the time, it is also filled with Aussie larrikins, secrets, friendship and love.
Ultimately, for me, it is a beautiful triumphant love story.
May 1941. When thousands of German paratroopers start floating down from the sky, the war arrives in Heraklion in Crete and it will last for three long years. Alenka is extremely worried, her younger brother Axel is part German, he’s the only person on the island who’s excited when they launch their attack and he’s been acting rather odd. The Germans underestimate how well the people of Crete know the terrain, they help the allied soldiers flee across the steep White Mountains using goat tracks, the lucky ones are rescued from the beach, many are taken prisoner, and others hide in the hills.
The battle for Crete is fierce, anyone who can fight does and with homemade weapons and Alenka saves the lives of two Australian soldiers. The Aussie soldiers are best mates, they grew up in the same town in Victoria and Jack Hawke and Teddy Lloyd have different personalities. Teddy is used to women falling at his feet, he thinks Alenka will succumb to his charm, she’s not at all interested, and he hates being rejected. She and Jack have a lot in common, they both like to read and are fascinated by ancient Greek history, the ruins in the area and tales about mythical gods. The months of hiding takes it’s toll on Jack and Teddy, both physically and mentally, both are attracted to Alenka, and this causes friction between them. Alenka is putting her life at risk, she has to be very careful as Axel is a collaborator, he could follow her and he’s been acting suspicious.
Alenka’s mother Hesper works at Villa Ariadne, the new German headquarters and they employ Alenka as a secretary and translator. Alenka hates her job, she has no choice and she uses her position to help her country. The people of Crete endured years of deprivation, it was truly shocking what the Germans did to them, they retaliated when they could, supported the resistance, and the Cretans never gave up.
I received a copy of The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth from NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review. It’s one of the best historical fiction books I have read this year, it’s full of fascinating facts and information about Crete, Greek traditions, food, culture, dancing, music, sewing and embroidery, mythological tales and much more. The characters are unforgettable, some you will love, cheer them on, and others you will hate. I admired both Alenka and Jack for their intelligence, resourcefulness, steadfastness, and I desperately wanted them to be together as a couple, and five stars from me.
This is a fabulous novel - a reimagining of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth myth set in Crete during WW2. It’s inspired by a true story as well as by one of the Greek myths and features the ruined palace at Knossos.
The novel opens on Anzac Day 1941 when a young Cretan woman, Alenka, meets two Australian soldiers, Jack and Teddy, who’ve been evacuated to the island from the mainland. When the Nazis attack, thousands of troops are trapped on Crete and Alenka hides them, helping them to survive in the caves and cellars midst the German occupation. As often happens during wartime, friendships are tested and betrayals occur. Readers have a front-row seat to the first invasion by paratroopers in history (The Battle of Crete) and the ensuing eleven-day battle featuring the brave women of the underground Cretan resistance.
Author Kate Forsyth held me spellbound! I was so interested in learning more about the Cretan way of life. It was the real story behind the sewing and embroidery that I found fascinating! I don't know how she did it, but I felt like I was there - dropped in the middle of an ancient Greek myth and being pursued by Germans! Forsyth is to be commended for bringing to light a little-written about slice of WW2 history.
The author’s great uncle was one of the troops who had retreated from the Nazis and traversed through the snow-clad Mountains of Crete, barely managing to escape.
I was gifted this advance copy by Kate Forsyth, Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
Alenka is just a young woman trying to survive. Like so many others, her world is shattered when the Nazis invade her home during WWII. Alenka embraces any and every opportunity to assist in resistance operations, even if it puts her and her family at risk. In doing so she meets two young men who change her life forever.
Teddy and Jack are just young men from Australia looking to do their part in the fight against the Nazis. Teddy is confident and charismatic. Jack is shy and has a stutter. One is set on embracing all the freedom and "fun" that being in the army provides. The other genuinely wants to make a difference.
Forsyth writes a gripping story that weaves the lives of these characters into one thread. Readers are familiarized with not only the crushing oppression under Nazi rule but also the deeply imbedded culture of the region. Forsyth's love of mythology entwines itself into the undercurrent of it all. There was a perfect balance of Alenka's world; the military actions of the Nazis, the Resistance, and Allies; and the complexities of the relationships between Alenka, Teddy, and Jack. Every single character makes a sacrifice. Every single character makes choices that impact others. Every single character forces an emotion from the reader.
This is a powerful read that brings to light yet another overlooked culture that was devastated by WWII.
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.
Well-written, descriptive historical fiction set in Crete, Greece during the Nazi occupation in the 1940s. Greek mythology and Greek culture are woven throughout the plot and add a unique element to this WWII story, The characters were engaging, the story well-plotted and the pacing was good although I thought the middle could have been a bit shorter. Satisfying ending and interesting author’s notes at the end. A good solid addition to the WWII historical fiction genre.
My thanks to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for this ARC. This review reflects my own and honest opinions.
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