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The Crimson Thread

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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 bac 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.


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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 bac 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.

30 review for The Crimson Thread

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In May 1941 Germany launched a massive airborne blitzkrieg on the island of Crete. It was met with fierce fighting from the inhabitants joined by the allied soldiers who had retreated there from the German invasion of Greece, but in the end the sheer numbers of the enemy overwhelmed the locals and Crete fell to Germany. Kate Forsyth’s historical novel follows the actions of two Australian soldiers, Teddy and Jack and a young Greek woman, Alenka, who were there on Crete that day. Teddy and Jack w In May 1941 Germany launched a massive airborne blitzkrieg on the island of Crete. It was met with fierce fighting from the inhabitants joined by the allied soldiers who had retreated there from the German invasion of Greece, but in the end the sheer numbers of the enemy overwhelmed the locals and Crete fell to Germany. Kate Forsyth’s historical novel follows the actions of two Australian soldiers, Teddy and Jack and a young Greek woman, Alenka, who were there on Crete that day. Teddy and Jack were boyhood friends who joined up together and found themselves fighting together in Greece before retreating to Crete, where they hoped to be evacuated before the Germans arrived. Teddy is a bit of a charming knock-about Aussie larrikin whereas Jack is quieter and more serious, enjoying books and history. Alenka saves both Teddy’s and Jack’s lives, hiding them from the Germans and bringing them food. She is a spirited woman and both Teddy and Jack fall in love with her, creating tension between them for the first time. Despite being at risk of discovery by her younger brother, a Nazi sympathiser, Alenka becomes a member of the resistance and through her job as a translator in the German Headquarters is able to pass on vital information. Not only has the author meticulously researched the invasion and occupation of Crete and the resistance by the Cretans and their allies, but she has perfectly captured the atmosphere of its ancient history and culture. The ruins of the palace at Knossos make an evocative backdrop for this novel as do the customs, music and food of the local people. Kate Forsyth has also magically incorporated her love of myths and fairytales by weaving the tale of the Theseus defeating the minotaur into the narrative. Just as Ariadne gave Theseus crimson thread to mark his path into the labyrinth so he could find his way out, so Alenka uses her embroidery threads to fight against the monsters occupying her island. With it’s perfectly paced plot, well developed characters (view spoiler)[ although there is one very unpleasant event towards the end of the book that seemed out of character for the perpetrator (hide spoiler)] and beautiful writing this is a gripping historical novel, about a part of the world and it’s struggles during WW2 that I knew little about. With thanks to Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley for a copy to read

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    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, 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. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KarrenReadsH...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur (Ms. G's Bookshelf)

    ⭐️5 Stars⭐️ Wow! The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth is an exquisite and stunning historical fiction World War II story incorporating the fascinating element of Greek mythology. This is my first book by the author and I’ll certainly be checking out Kate’s back list. It’s set on the Island of Crete during Nazi occupation in the 1940’s. The central characters are two Aussie soldiers Teddy and Jack and a young Greek woman named Alenka. As the allies are forced to retreat, several thousand soldiers are ⭐️5 Stars⭐️ Wow! The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth is an exquisite and stunning historical fiction World War II story incorporating the fascinating element of Greek mythology. This is my first book by the author and I’ll certainly be checking out Kate’s back list. It’s set on the Island of Crete during Nazi occupation in the 1940’s. The central characters are two Aussie soldiers Teddy and Jack and a young Greek woman named Alenka. As the allies are forced to retreat, several thousand soldiers are left behind on the Island during the evacuation. Alenka helps hide soldier Jack from the Nazi’s knowing she is risking her life. The story is gripping and I loved learning about the culture of the region, there’s also a touch of romance with a romantic love triangle simmering away. The interesting addition of embroidery is woven into the story to tie in with part of the Greek mythology. I loved the bravery of Alenka and her people and their small acts of defiance against the Nazi’s. There are characters you’ll love and others you will love to hate. The Crimson Tide is beautifully written and it swept me away. A meticulously researched piece of history and an excellent read, I thoroughly recommend you grab yourself a copy. Publication Date 5 July 2022
 Publisher Penguin Books Australia (Imprint Vintage Australia) 
 Thank you to the wonderful team at Penguin Books Australia for sending me a copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Lester

    There’s a reason why Kate Forsyth is one of Australia’s most beloved storytellers – it’s because she writes such enchanting tales. The Crimson Thread and its wonderful main character Alenka will weave their way around your heart and you won’t want to let them go. A gripping story about a fascinating piece of history, meticulously researched and beautifully written

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    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 Min 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jülie ☼♄ 

    OMG I want more!! Love, love, loved this book! Just wonderful. And a most beautiful cover too! Oh my goodness, I’m sad to come to the end of it. What an amazingly talented author is Kate Forsythe, I’m in awe of her skills, to be able to weave and plot and fashion such a complex amount of information into a seamless story is just an awesome accomplishment. I won’t go into the plot here as this is too complex a story to try to condense adequately, I know I couldn’t do it justice….just read this book. Myt OMG I want more!! Love, love, loved this book! Just wonderful. And a most beautiful cover too! Oh my goodness, I’m sad to come to the end of it. What an amazingly talented author is Kate Forsythe, I’m in awe of her skills, to be able to weave and plot and fashion such a complex amount of information into a seamless story is just an awesome accomplishment. I won’t go into the plot here as this is too complex a story to try to condense adequately, I know I couldn’t do it justice….just read this book. Mythological stories are seamlessly blended with historical stories from different accounts of the unwaveringly brave efforts of Cretans during World War ll, when Hitler launched an airborne Blitzkrieg on the small island of Crete. These melded scenarios paint a graphically poignant picture of a time when the people of Crete faced off with the Monster that was Hitler, as he indiscriminately unleashed his might on them. There were a couple of things that stood out for me as a bit questionable…which I’ve noticed have been addressed in other reviews…so I wont dwell on those here as I am of the personal opinion that they may have been the result of rushed editing decisions… because they just didn’t fit the overall “feel” or context of the story as a whole. Perhaps it was a directive in the interests of brevity? I’m not sure, I do know for sure though, that I could easily have read another 100 pages of this wonderful book! I’d love to see it made into a movie! Suffice to say that this is is a really engaging and insightful book in so many ways, and I was equally fascinated by the Author’s notes at the end of this fantastic story! I feel embarrassed to admit that I have not read any of Kate Forsyth’s book before this, though that will definitely change now as I plan to read more of her work. I believe this book has something for everybody, it’s that easy to get absorbed in. I highly recommend it for the enjoyment of all readers. This is a keeper. A Fantastic 5⭐️s! Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for my digital copy to read and review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christine Wells

    I love all of Kate Forsyth's books but I think this might be my favourite! A spellbinding tapestry of a novel steeped in the rich, vibrant culture and mythology of Crete, THE CRIMSON THREAD is a story of tragedy and heroism, of the men and women oppressed by Nazi occupation, their amazing courage and fierce resistance, and of the brave few Allies who helped them. I love all of Kate Forsyth's books but I think this might be my favourite! A spellbinding tapestry of a novel steeped in the rich, vibrant culture and mythology of Crete, THE CRIMSON THREAD is a story of tragedy and heroism, of the men and women oppressed by Nazi occupation, their amazing courage and fierce resistance, and of the brave few Allies who helped them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helen - Great Reads & Tea Leaves

    4.5* A new book by Kate Forsyth, as one of Australia’s best storytellers, is always cause for celebration. You know without doubt that you are in for a rich historical tale that will fully immerse you back in time. ‘Hitler’s winged devils are leaping from the sky onto our soil. They think us an island of weak old fools. We shall show them!’ Kate’s, The Crimson Thread, is so multilayered and so much more than a simple World War II story. Set in Crete, it details the time of the Nazi occupation and 4.5* A new book by Kate Forsyth, as one of Australia’s best storytellers, is always cause for celebration. You know without doubt that you are in for a rich historical tale that will fully immerse you back in time. ‘Hitler’s winged devils are leaping from the sky onto our soil. They think us an island of weak old fools. We shall show them!’ Kate’s, The Crimson Thread, is so multilayered and so much more than a simple World War II story. Set in Crete, it details the time of the Nazi occupation and the terrible impact that ensued on the local people, their resistance and the support given by a few remaining allied forces. On the one level, it is full to the brim of information from this horrific occupation and those who stood up for the greater good. A good solid wartime saga. “War is not an adventure, my boy,” she had said. “It hurts you somewhere deep down, and the wound never heals.” Kate does, however, take this to the next level through her rich and vibrant multidimensional storytelling. Firstly the cast of characters are wonderful (though I couldn't stand Teddy from the outset - but I think that was the point) and you cannot help but feel each and every tragedy that befell them. The romance is true and honest. Secondly is the Cretan culture - traditions, music and food - this particular aspect I found most entertaining and interesting. Finally, Kate’s great love of fairy tales/myths comes shining through - how could it not from the home of Zeus! With all the Greek retellings I have read of late, it felt like going home in many ways. To read of Ariadne and the story of the Minotaur amongst the temple ruins was a definite highlight. Kate cleverly weaves it all together into a sublime retelling with a new cast of characters - heroes and villains. ‘The people of Crete had three great passions: love of country, love of freedom, love of life. The Nazis had brought subjugation, enslavement, death. Alenka was determined to fight them’ Overall, this is sure to be another success to Kate’s impeccable list of books. The faultless way she weaves history, culture and mythology to provide a tale of tragedy with real heroes offering resistance makes this a highly recommended read for lovers of this genre. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tien

    "whoever fights monsters need to take care they do not become a monster themselves" The Crimson Thread is one of my highly anticipated 2022 release. Primarily due to Kate Forsyth being a favourite author of mine, starting with her earlier fantasy series and also, I have mostly enjoyed her 'series' of loose fairy tale retellings. Her novels always feature strong and intelligent heroines determined to carve their own places in the world and not where society expects them to. I love WWII stories so I "whoever fights monsters need to take care they do not become a monster themselves" The Crimson Thread is one of my highly anticipated 2022 release. Primarily due to Kate Forsyth being a favourite author of mine, starting with her earlier fantasy series and also, I have mostly enjoyed her 'series' of loose fairy tale retellings. Her novels always feature strong and intelligent heroines determined to carve their own places in the world and not where society expects them to. I love WWII stories so I thought for sure this one was going to be a winner for me. BUT! Love triangles, oh, I wanted to cry... However, Forsyth's writing was just so immersive that it kept drawing me on and on to the ending. I have a deep seated anxiety that usually, I would have dropped the book like a hot potato. Her lyrical writing with her clever weaving of Greek mythology were such that I couldn't bear not to finish. Of course, it helped that one other character was a definite putz so you could tell earlier on which pairing is it. 5 stars for the brilliant craft and prose but I just had to take off one teeny bit little star because I was just too too upset with the triangle trope. The Crimson Thread is a mesmerising story of courage and resilience, friendship and betrayal, and of course, of love. My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum

    It feels like an abundance of historical fiction set in WWII has been published in the last 5 years and I'm close to reaching my saturation point, but made an immediate exception for one of my favourite Australian authors Kate Forsyth. The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth is an historical fiction novel set during WWII in Crete, an island of Greece. Our protagonist Alenka Klothakis is a local and part of the fierce resistance mounted by the Cretans against the German invasion in 1941. The 11 day Bat It feels like an abundance of historical fiction set in WWII has been published in the last 5 years and I'm close to reaching my saturation point, but made an immediate exception for one of my favourite Australian authors Kate Forsyth. The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth is an historical fiction novel set during WWII in Crete, an island of Greece. Our protagonist Alenka Klothakis is a local and part of the fierce resistance mounted by the Cretans against the German invasion in 1941. The 11 day Battle of Crete (in which 11,000 soldiers and civilians were killed and injured) was expertly written and I cheered the locals as they attacked and killed as many of the German paratroopers as they could with whatever they had to hand. Alenka offers to help the Allied Forces in a makeshift hospital: "Alenka soon understood why. She had never seen such pain and suffering before. On every side men held out pleading hands, some weeping. She carried buckets of water in and stinking bedpans out, rolled bandages till her hands ached, scrubbed blood off floors, boiled surgical instruments in one pot and soup in another, and held the hand of one poor young man till he died." Page 96 Australian soldiers Teddy and Jack were compelling characters and their relationship with Alenka and other members of the resistance drove the story forward in a unique way. I think readers will love Jack and while Teddy was much less likeable, his motivations throughout the war were - unfortunately - all too realistic. This was a five star read but for two quibbles. The first was the way in which the novel began which is both a compliment and a minor quibble. The beginning was so magical and evocative I wanted to stay there. Forever. Instead I was wrenched unwillingly into Alenka's adolescent years and the seemingly sudden beginning of the war. The transition from Alenka's childhood memories straight into the war seemed way too quick for me and out of step with the pace set in the opening few pages. Perhaps I was so keen for another book like Bitter Greens (my all time favourite novel by Kate Forsyth) that my mind raced away in an unrelated direction and I resented leaving Alenka's Yia Yia behind after just meeting her. "Yia-Yia knew many stories of gods and heroes, giants and nymphs, and the Three Fates who spun and measured and cut the thread of life. Many of Yia-Yia's tales were strange and terrible. A girl who was turned into a tree. A woman cursed with snakes for hair. Another whose tongue was cut out and who could only tell her story by embroidering it upon a cloth. The story Yia-Yia told most often, though, was that of the minotaur in the labyrinth, for it was the mythos of Alenka's home, the ruins of the palace of Knossos in the island of Crete." Page 3 Can you blame me for wanting to read a book of Yia-Yia's telling after that paragraph on the opening page? The second quibble comes towards the end of the novel and I can't mention much without potentially spoiling it for others. Suffice to say, a main character acts completely out of keeping with the circumstances and her choices seemed incredibly simplistic and uncharacteristic after what she had endured during the German occupation. Now that's off my chest, let me tell you The Crimson Thread is the perfect title for this novel, and I loved the references to embroidery and the thread of fate stitched throughout the pages. The way in which embroidery was used to record and exchange messages, and as a respite from the Nazi occupation was inspiring. I know the author started to embroider in preparation for writing this book and it clearly shows. I love to cross-stitch and picking it up again after an unplanned but lengthy hiatus recently, my heart was warmed any time a stitch was sewn in the book. The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth is highly recommended for fans of historical fiction; even those wary of 'another' WWII novel. * Copy courtesy of Penguin Random House *

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    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 t 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 was so 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    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 t 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 as well as the Morse Code 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! I had never heard of Crete's roll in WW2, so I was an eager student, soaking in every fact. 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Noble

    I feel rather conflicted about this book. Forsyth's prose is lovely but the way this story is told didn't quite work for me. I do love the Greek perspective and I welcomed the opportunity to learn a bit about Crete during WWII and Cretan culture in general. I also appreciate the retelling of the Minotaur myth. That said, a lot of time was spent on the myth at the very start of the book and I found it difficult to get into the story. The main character, Alenka, fell a bit flat for me. Her motivati I feel rather conflicted about this book. Forsyth's prose is lovely but the way this story is told didn't quite work for me. I do love the Greek perspective and I welcomed the opportunity to learn a bit about Crete during WWII and Cretan culture in general. I also appreciate the retelling of the Minotaur myth. That said, a lot of time was spent on the myth at the very start of the book and I found it difficult to get into the story. The main character, Alenka, fell a bit flat for me. Her motivations were clear but they lacked emotion. In addition, the antagonists were so archetypal that I quickly felt irritated by them. Finally, I found the story meandered and the plot lost tension at some critical points. This novel has a lot of positive reviews, so I can't help but think a lot of my struggle with it is simply an issue of personal taste. There is still plenty that is good in the book, so I would say that fans of historical fiction should give it a chance and decide for themselves. Thank you to Blackstone Publishing, Kate Forsyth, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah 🌺 Books in Their Natural Habitat

    I haven’t read any historical fiction in the WWII era from the perspective of the Greek, and I’ve read a lot of WWII books! It was interesting to get perspective, because they weren’t exactly a “big player” in the war and yet they were very much impacted by it. Alenka’s heart really sold me on this book. Her younger brother is half-German. He is hellbent on doing things for the German cause despite being young. While he continually does things to hurt her and her mother and put them at risk, she I haven’t read any historical fiction in the WWII era from the perspective of the Greek, and I’ve read a lot of WWII books! It was interesting to get perspective, because they weren’t exactly a “big player” in the war and yet they were very much impacted by it. Alenka’s heart really sold me on this book. Her younger brother is half-German. He is hellbent on doing things for the German cause despite being young. While he continually does things to hurt her and her mother and put them at risk, she loves him fiercely. On the flip side, she meets two Australian soldiers and ends up saving their lives despite the risk of her brother turning her in. She always seemed to find the good in people even during the war. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, and overall, that gave a really good picture of all of the pieces at play that drove the story. If you’re looking for a WWII-era book full of love and determination that will keep you turning the pages, look no further! Thank you @hfvbt @blackstonepublishing and @kate_forsyth_ for the opportunity to read this book. The review expresses my own personal opinions.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I received this book just as I was moving into a new house, read it in between unpacking boxes, and then listened to the audio book version to refresh myself since it had been so many weeks. Both in print and in audio, The Crimson Thread is a compelling story, well crafted and well paced. There's something especially intriguing about World War II  stories, I think. On the one hand, even if the brutality of war is not in the foreground, it is ever present. On the other, perhaps because we know who I received this book just as I was moving into a new house, read it in between unpacking boxes, and then listened to the audio book version to refresh myself since it had been so many weeks. Both in print and in audio, The Crimson Thread is a compelling story, well crafted and well paced. There's something especially intriguing about World War II  stories, I think. On the one hand, even if the brutality of war is not in the foreground, it is ever present. On the other, perhaps because we know who wins, there's an element of romance to them is rarely associated with other periods. This novel is the perfect example of this. Two of the lead characters are soldiers, one eventually joins the Resistance, and while the reality of war, of the German army invading the Greek islands, is the impetus for the story, the love triangle between Jack, Teddy, and Alenka is as gripping as any of the battle strategy or espionage that is also in this book. To be fair, I was team Jack from the start. Teddy is the playboy while Jack is the steadfast soldier, and I doubt that they would have become friends - or friendly - under normal circumstances. Author Forsyth wrote both men equally vividly, but where Teddy is brash, Jack is thoughtful, and creative. As a an amateur cellist, I loved that the cello was part of his story, but I also loved the concept of poem codes - something I've never encountered before in my reading. (I want to know more about this!) Alenka is also a dynamic character, soft at times, but also resolute, and even fierce. I could see how either man would fall for her - I almost fell for her myself. Her strained relationship with her Nazi-sympathizer younger brother - a mere child when we first meet him - added depth to her character and his. The audio book, I felt, really captured the tone of each of these three leads, and I loved that there was a female narrator for the chapters that were primarily Alenka's point of view. But even the print version made each of them feel like real, living beings. Author Kate Forsyth had a deft hand when crafting this novel. The pacing was perfect. The dates at the beginning of each section, and the shifting perspectives made the story more intense, especially in the last third when the jeopardy to all the characters increased. Her use of dialogue is also excellent - I never felt like these people were out of time or out of place. If you want a riveting romantic drama set against a part of World War II that is less familiar than the typical England or France, The Crimson Thread is for you. Goes well with: charbroiled squid and a cold beer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    It’s awesome when you have a day to just sit down and read. It’s been so long and this one was a great one to get engrossed in and finish in 24 hours.

  17. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    It’s been a hot minute since I read anything by Kate Forsyth. Generally she writes more fantasy and fairytale retellings but this book is firmly in the historical fiction genre. So needless to say when it came up for review, I was intrigued because it was different than what Forsyth typically writes and she is such a wonderful writer that I knew this one would be on par with her other books! Obviously it was an easy ‘yes’ to review but beyond just the author and genre of the book I didn’t know to It’s been a hot minute since I read anything by Kate Forsyth. Generally she writes more fantasy and fairytale retellings but this book is firmly in the historical fiction genre. So needless to say when it came up for review, I was intrigued because it was different than what Forsyth typically writes and she is such a wonderful writer that I knew this one would be on par with her other books! Obviously it was an easy ‘yes’ to review but beyond just the author and genre of the book I didn’t know too much going in. I mean of course I get an officially summary of the books I review but sometimes I just say yes based on the author or cover before I really read the summary. When I sat down to start reading this one I was more or less blind. I knew it was a historical fiction piece and based on the cover I was guessing WWII (which I was correct) but beyond that I didn’t know much else. But instantly I knew this was going to be different than the traditional WWII novel. The setting really distinguishes itself from traditional WWII books set in London, Paris, or even Germany. This book is set on the isle of Crete which instantly made me want to know more. I can’t recall a single historical fiction novel set on this small isle and it really made the novel for me! When I think about the Nazi occupation, I tend to think of France, Poland, and Italy. I rarely think of other smaller locations and what that might have been like. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society really changed that for me when I read it. Getting to know the small island of Guernsey and their experience with the Nazi occupation was fascinating and I have since been looking for a book that has that offers that same experience and feel of a small island during the occupation. I absolutely loved that this book brought this new lens to a saturated genre of WWII books. The setting really took on a life of it’s own in this book and it was such a treat to read about an exotic location with so much rich history. I can only imagine how much research went into a book like this. If I recall, Forsyth is from Australia so to write a book like this she must have done a ton of research and likely a lot of in person research to get a true feel and vibe for the island of Crete. Hands down this one was impeccably researched and well written. While I loved the historical details in this book, I found so much else to enjoy beyond just the history. There was a romance, a story of resistance, and some Greek mythology. I am normally not a huge Greek mythology person, but I love how the mythology was woven seamlessly into this story. I really liked the romance parts of this book. Jack and Teddy meet and fall in love with Alenka, the main character, and it was hard to NOT love all of these characters. I personally loved Jack and found his character so well written as a love interest. Alenka is also an intriguing main character and I think a lot of readers will find lots to love in her character. She is strong, tough, and just so well imagined that I cannot think of a better main character for readers to meet and enjoy! This book was such a treat to read beginning to end! It was one of my most anticipated books of the year. While Forsyth is such a strong fantasy writer, this historical fiction book really came alive and made me excited to read more by her in this genre. It felt like a new and exciting story with enchanting details and fully developed characters and an intriguing story. If you love historical fiction this is going to be an excellent selection for you! I absolutely loved it and cannot WAIT for more books by Forsyth—–historical fiction or not! She is a very talented writer and you need to check out this book especially if fantasy isn’t really your jam you will no doubt find lots to love in this historical fiction novel!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Atlasi Khoramani

    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. 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.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    In Crete, 1941, Alenka lives near the ruins of Knossos. As the Germans invade from the sky, the proud Cretan people fight back. Alenka is determined to help the resistance and the men who came to fight for her country. Alenka takes a chance and rescues two Australian soldiers. Friends, Teddy and Jack are left behind in the evacuation from the island. Alenka hides the soldiers in the ruins and brings them food. She teaches them how to act Greek while taking part in resistance efforts. However, Al In Crete, 1941, Alenka lives near the ruins of Knossos. As the Germans invade from the sky, the proud Cretan people fight back. Alenka is determined to help the resistance and the men who came to fight for her country. Alenka takes a chance and rescues two Australian soldiers. Friends, Teddy and Jack are left behind in the evacuation from the island. Alenka hides the soldiers in the ruins and brings them food. She teaches them how to act Greek while taking part in resistance efforts. However, Alenka's brother, Axel supports the Nazi's and is ready to report Alenka and her friend's resistance efforts at every turn. The Crimson Thread combines several elements that I love; history, mythology and the author's own family story into an intricately woven tale of hope, resistance, and overcoming obstacles. I didn't know much about World War II in Greece and was amazed by the heart of the people there. The Nazi's seemed to take every hint of resistance out on innocent citizens. but the people kept fighting back with whatever they had. I was pleased to learn that two of Alenka's friends in the book, Phyllia and Micky Akoumianakis were real life Greek SOE. Alenka's character encompassed the feelings of the people of Crete. I was amazed at her ability to keep going, think of ways to outsmart the Nazi's and how she loved Axel even when he was bent on destroying her. Axel's character struck a chord of fear in me from the very beginning, he had something to prove and he was willing to destroy everything in order to do it. Teddy and Jack's characters were interesting, best friends that were Australian soldiers with completely different outlooks on life and relationships. From the description, I thought it would be a love triangle situation; however, it is anything but. Teddy's true colors come out immediately and Jack's humble, caring nature shines through. I wasn't sure how the Ariadne and the Minotaur story was going to be brought in except for the setting near the labyrinth; although, in the end, Ariadne, the Minotaur, Theseus and Dionysus were there all along. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ana Lorena

    Background World War II The Battle of Crete started on May 20, 1940, with German mounting an airborne fight that included paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger). Crete Allies and significant numbers of civilians defended the island. Code was used to communicate among Allies and the Enigma Machine was heavily used to decrypt German transmissions. Germany lost about 3,800 soldiers, while Greece lost 550. The book covers many aspects of this war and the involvement of Greeks. Crete is the largest island o Background World War II The Battle of Crete started on May 20, 1940, with German mounting an airborne fight that included paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger). Crete Allies and significant numbers of civilians defended the island. Code was used to communicate among Allies and the Enigma Machine was heavily used to decrypt German transmissions. Germany lost about 3,800 soldiers, while Greece lost 550. The book covers many aspects of this war and the involvement of Greeks. Crete is the largest island of Greece located to the south of the mainland. It has the White Mountain (Lefka Ori) range in the western part of the island. The mountains have limestone and do not have trees at the top. Farther east, you find Mount Ida, the highest mountain at 2,456 meters or 8,058 feet. Mount Ida has a famous cave, the Idean Cave (Idaion Antron), where Zeus was born. Crete is the home of the Bronze Age (3,300 to 1,200 BCE) Palace of Knossos, located in Heraklion, the capital in the north. Knossos became a reunion place for the Minoan Civilization. The book mentions hiding in the White Mountains and Allies complaining about its high peaks. It also brings up the Knossos and its treasures. Legend of Minotaur The Queen from Crete and wife of Minos, Pasiphae, and a bull were the parents of Minotaur. The bull was sent by Poisedon to be sacrificed but instead it fell in love with Pasiphae. Minotaur is a therianthrope with the head of a bull and the body of a human. Daedalus and his son Icarus constructed the Labyrinth for Minos, and the Minotaur was housed in it. To avenge the death of Androgeos, son of Minos, by Athenians, Athenian maidens and youths were sent inside the cave to be devoured. Theseus decided to enter the Labyrinth helped by Ariadne, a daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, to end the Minotaur. Ariadne was in love with Theseus and gave him thread that he would lay on his way in and could follow on his way out. This legend of Greek mythology is paralleled to events in the novel. Synopsis The story starts on April 25th, 1941 in Crete and describes events during World War II until May 21st, 1945, as the War was ending. The story is three-pronged: 1) Greek mythology legends adorning the story and infused with Greek tradition, language, and culture; 2) true and fictional war conflicts and characters; and 3) a heroine’s and love story of how a Greek woman helps Allies and two Australian soldiers fall in love with her. Teddy Lloyd and Jack (Benedict John) Hawke are Australian soldiers that fled from mainland Greece to Crete. They have known each other since they were 8 years old and remain best of friends. Upon arriving to Crete, they meet Alenka separately and both become infatuated by her. She is charming and beautiful and initially plays the role, flirting a little. Teddy meets her first and often claims that this fact gives him the right to pretend her. Teddy and Jack often discuss Alenka, each advocating their love and desires for her. This creates a conflict between the friends and for Alenka who needs to follow her heart for one of them. Alenka has a close family. She lives with her mother Hesper and a young half-brother Axel (12 years old at the start of the novel). Her grandmother, Yia-Yia, has told her many Greek stories, including that of Minotaur. Axel’s father is German, and this makes Axel feel German. He wants to be loyal to his German heritage and joins the Nazis. This contrasts with Alenka’s loyalties, who helps the Allies, passes coded messages in embroidered clothes, and works for the Nazis to spy on them. Alenka and Axel cannot trust each other. Still, Alenka loves her younger brother. Among Alenka’s deeds is hiding Teddy and Jack for many months, risking her life to bring them food and tending to their wounds. Perspective Although Teddy and Jack have been friends for a long time, lived close to each other, and fought in battle together, they are very different and have contrasting personalities. This is apparent right away and you start understanding their behaviors and feelings. Jack is intellectual, patient, kind, romantic, thoughtful, and meticulous. Teddy is more impulsive, passionate, competitive, and sometimes sneaky. I felt that having each very different personalities helped give their friendship and competitiveness for Alenka more validation and depth. Alenka was a mature young woman, considerate, independent, and sharp. She was also compassionate and brave. It was clear once all the characters were well introduced, how Alenka was feeling for Teddy and Jack. Yet, hints of the relationships would develop continued until the end. I loved the descriptions of the landscape and places. I was also able to picture the scenes that were taking place. Description of places or actions were exact but were not over descriptive, which I thought it was well done and did not detract from the story’s pace. I enjoyed the passages on code developing and breaking from the Morse Code to a widely used code to one that was created by using a poem or figures that started with a particular letter. I looked up the Morse Code and the story (as mentioned in the book) of how the letter V was a hallmark and reminder for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The letter V in Morse Code is three bits and a dash (…_). The roman letter V is five, as does this Beethoven’s symphony. The symphony starts with three short bits and a longer dash as in the code. Recommendation This is a well-researched, -written, and multi-layered story with something for everyone’s taste, battles, friendship, legends, love, and friendship. I only wished it had a little more action at times.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chelsie

    I learned a lot from this novel! I had no idea about WWII being on Crete and how long it last on that island. This was an amazing story told through various characters. Alenkam, a young Greek woman who lives on Crete and then from Jack and Teddy, two Australian soldiers who were sent there to fight. I love how the author wove all the greek mythology, folklore and stories into the novel as well, the added so much more depth to Crete and all it was fighting for. Alenka has a lot to fight for with I learned a lot from this novel! I had no idea about WWII being on Crete and how long it last on that island. This was an amazing story told through various characters. Alenkam, a young Greek woman who lives on Crete and then from Jack and Teddy, two Australian soldiers who were sent there to fight. I love how the author wove all the greek mythology, folklore and stories into the novel as well, the added so much more depth to Crete and all it was fighting for. Alenka has a lot to fight for with her step-brother and his conniving ways, and with her mother who has struggled in life since he was born. She does all that she can to protect them and gets herself wrapped up with the enemy and puts her life on the line everyday to help with the resistance of the Nazi's. Meanwhile, her step-brother is doing all that he can to become a Nazi, as his father is German after all and he wants to prove that he is not like his mother and sister. Jack and Teddy, who are the best of friends yet very opposite of each other are in the fight of their life with trying to help keep Crete from the Nazi's as well as fighting each other over a girl. Jack has been the more reserved and studious one, where Teddy is all about the girls and is often able to take what he wants. It seems that life has always brought competition between the two of them, but one decision is all it takes to change their lives and friendship. This book was so good! I loved all of the storylines and characters that were brought together. I learned a lot about Crete and the history and beliefs of that island. Thank you to HFVBT for the invite and to the author for the free novel, I will be reading more by her!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dive Into A Good Book

    I am giving The Crimson Thread all the stars! This book captures you from the first moment you open the cover, and you dive into Crete during World War II. Kate Forsythe creates an astounding tale of the true grit that the Cretan people are made from, with mythology gently woven in. The characters are lovingly created, with rich backstories, and the fortitude to keep moving forward no matter what obstacle lands in their way. You will love some and truly despise others. The details and descriptio I am giving The Crimson Thread all the stars! This book captures you from the first moment you open the cover, and you dive into Crete during World War II. Kate Forsythe creates an astounding tale of the true grit that the Cretan people are made from, with mythology gently woven in. The characters are lovingly created, with rich backstories, and the fortitude to keep moving forward no matter what obstacle lands in their way. You will love some and truly despise others. The details and descriptions that are given make you feel like you are there. The dancing and joy of the people that she puts forth makes you want to drop everything and experience it yourself. In the meantime, take a trip back in time to this small, yet mighty island. Alenka is a force to be reckoned with. She is strong, intelligent, knows what she wants, and is determined to help her people. She has grown up on the villa that housed the archaeologists that were excavating the ruins of the Palace of Knossos. She knows many languages, has a strong background in the dig, and catches the eye of every man walking by. Including Teddy and Jack, Australian soldiers who have been friends since childhood. Will their friendship last through the war and will one of them catch the eye of Alenka? This book is phenomenal. It enraptures you from the moment your eyes caress the first page, and you will struggle to put it down. The characters are crafted in such a way that you feel their presence sitting beside you. Forsyth has a unique way of creating a story that will stay with you for years to come. Thank you to Kate Forsythe, Blackstone Publishing, and HF Virtual Book Tours for sending me one of the best books I have read this year!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Craig / Phil

    Thank you Penguin for sending us a copy to read and review. The small idyllic island of Crete was not unscathed by World War Two and the rise of the Nazi killing machine. The Allies and particularly the Australian soldiers were utilised all over the war front. A story of trust, loyalty and betrayal as another part of the war jigsaw unfolds and educates. Incorporation of the local Minotaur legend adding a clever dimension. Alenka is a young local woman, torn between living the local way and wanting Thank you Penguin for sending us a copy to read and review. The small idyllic island of Crete was not unscathed by World War Two and the rise of the Nazi killing machine. The Allies and particularly the Australian soldiers were utilised all over the war front. A story of trust, loyalty and betrayal as another part of the war jigsaw unfolds and educates. Incorporation of the local Minotaur legend adding a clever dimension. Alenka is a young local woman, torn between living the local way and wanting to achieve big and better things and has a pro German younger brother. Alenka saves the lives of two Australian soldiers. Immediately these guys adding a familiar flair to an unfamiliar place. Jack and Teddy become stranded on the island as the German occupation takes complete hold. Hiding and relying on a support crew of resistance fighters including Alenka. The war polarising the relationship between brother and sister as traitorous acts are committed and delusion rules supreme. Reading the acknowledgments builds insight into a story’s foundation and this has in turn unearthed another aspect of the war I was unaware of. This is an example of how well Australians authors write historical fiction, I was transported back in time and to a place I ve never been but it felt real. I am glad I now have an earlier book by this talented author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bree T

    A new Kate Forsyth book is always cause to celebrate. I have read almost all of her adult books (I think there are a couple that have escaped me) and they are always rich with history and mythology with wonderful characters and more often than not, very compelling love stories woven in. This one is set a little more in recent times than most of the previous ones I have read, with Kate Forsyth choosing to tell the story of the Nazi invasion of the Greek island of Crete during the Second World War A new Kate Forsyth book is always cause to celebrate. I have read almost all of her adult books (I think there are a couple that have escaped me) and they are always rich with history and mythology with wonderful characters and more often than not, very compelling love stories woven in. This one is set a little more in recent times than most of the previous ones I have read, with Kate Forsyth choosing to tell the story of the Nazi invasion of the Greek island of Crete during the Second World War, which was something that I didn’t know a lot about before reading this book. It has come up a couple of times briefly in other books I’ve read but I think this might be the first book I’ve read that focused pretty much solely on the Nazi occupation of Crete and what that was like both for the locals and also Allied forces who were trying to repel the invasion and then later on, returned to drive the Nazis out. The story mostly revolves around three main characters: Alenka, a local of Crete who lives near the ruins of a palace in Knossos where the remains of the famous labyrinth remain. In better times Alenka worked as a curator and translator at the Knossos dig. She speaks multiple languages and in 1941, meets separately, two Australian soldiers stationed on Crete, Teddy and Jack. They’re best friends from Victoria although they are very different. Teddy is brash and confident, determined to make Alenka ‘his girl’. Jack is quieter and struggles with a stutter. The three become intertwined – Teddy and Jack are part of the official fight against the Germans but Alenka is part of an underground one, deep in the resistance by the locals against their invaders (and later, occupiers). Alenka has the added complication of the fact that her younger brother is half German and sees the coming invasion as a way for him to connect with them and he’s willing to do anything to ingratiate himself with the soldiers. I really enjoyed this – I read the majority of it in a single sitting and found that for the most part, I could not put it down. Alenka is a wonderful character and her inner conflict about her brother is showcased really well. I liked the juxtaposition of Teddy and Jack and although I did not particularly like one of the characters, nor their attitude at all, I appreciated the trouble Forsyth took to make their friendship complicated. They are almost lifelong friends, having been friends since they were boys and joined up together and are fighting together. They are very different though and that does become a source of conflict within the story centring around both of them having an attraction to Alenka. All three of them take significant risks and end up in dangerous situations multiple times. Alenka’s role in the resistance was very interesting to read about – a lot of WWII stories showcase small (and large) ways in which local populations resisted the invading forces and their rebellions and wins are heartening. The Germans seemed to definitely underestimate the difficulty of the terrain as well as the tenacity of the locals and towards the end, they are becoming stretched in too many locations, invading too many places. There’s a lot of brutality that German soldiers are known for and some of that is showcased here but not blatantly. A lot of the book is quite fast paced – the fact that the characters are often in danger or under threat in some way adds to this frantic feeling and it makes for a very quick read as well, as you find yourself wanting to know what is going to happen next. I’d definitely advise reading the Author’s Note at the back of the book as well, which gives some great context to some of the events and inclusions of the story. There’s also a lot that happens that is quite subtle – such as the story of Alenka’s mother and honestly, that could’ve almost been a book on its own! I also haven’t really mentioned the mythological aspect, which tied in so nicely to a lot of the reading I have been doing lately, which gave me a great solid background for a lot of the history included in this book. This felt just so perfectly researched – reading it, it feels like you’re on Crete, experiencing this with all the locals. A wonderful book. ***A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review***

  25. 4 out of 5

    Unseen Library

    I received a copy of The Crimson Thread from Penguin Random House Australia to review. Rating of 4.5. One of Australia’s premier authors presents another compelling and powerful historical drama with The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth. By May 1941, the Nazis have conquered Greece and the island of Crete lies before them as the next land to control. As the island prepares for invasion, young Cretan woman, Alenka, attempts to find some semblance of normality amongst the chaos, but chance meetings wit I received a copy of The Crimson Thread from Penguin Random House Australia to review. Rating of 4.5. One of Australia’s premier authors presents another compelling and powerful historical drama with The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth. By May 1941, the Nazis have conquered Greece and the island of Crete lies before them as the next land to control. As the island prepares for invasion, young Cretan woman, Alenka, attempts to find some semblance of normality amongst the chaos, but chance meetings with two Australian soldiers stationed on the island will change her life forever. When the Germans finally invade Crete in a massive and long-running battle, Alenka finds herself stuck in the middle of the fighting and eventually chooses to hide the Australians when the Germans win. These two soldiers are Jack and Teddy. Lifelong best friends, the rambunctious Teddy and the shy, scholarly Jack, joined the army together to see the world, only to get caught up in the chaos of the war. Separated during the retreat to Crete, Jack and Teddy manage to reunite on the island, with both falling for the alluring Alenka upon meeting her. When the Germans invade and they are trapped behind enemy lines with no hope of escape, both go to ground, seeking out help from Alenka and her allies in Crete’s resistance movement. As the Germans tighten their hold on the island, Alenka, Jack and Teddy find themselves in constant danger as they attempt to find some way for the Australians to escape. However, their attempts to evade the Nazis are not their only trouble, as Jack and Teddy’s once close friendship starts to deteriorate through jealously and anger. Worse, Alenka’s brother, Axel, is a dangerous Nazi collaborator, whose long simmering anger and resentment threatens everything Alenka holds dear. As Axel searches for a way to destroy his sister and her friends, all will be forced to make some hard choices, both on the battlefield and in love. This was a deeply moving and highly detailed historical drama from Forsyth that I had a wonderful time reading. Balancing a captivating historical tale of invasion in a unique World War II setting with a powerful tale of romance, broken friendships and family betrayals, The Crimson Thread is an outstanding novel which really highlights Forsyth’s impressive skill as an author. To see the full review, click on the link below: https://unseenlibrary.com/2022/08/01/... An abridged review of this book also ran in the Canberra Weekly on 28 July 2022: https://unseenlibrary.com/2022/09/06/... For other exciting reviews and content, check out my blog at: https://unseenlibrary.com/

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Harris

    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 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Spear

    I always take a break after reading a novel to let it settle into my soul and with the complexity of The Crimson Thread, I needed to let it simmer awhile. Powerful writing, like this, sometimes renders me mute. When I am overwhelmed by a story’s greatness, it can be hard to find the words to express a reaction. But I always try. I have loved all of Kate’s novels and The Crimson Thread, as noted, left me speechless and moved on so many levels. It is a heartbreaking tale centred around the effects I always take a break after reading a novel to let it settle into my soul and with the complexity of The Crimson Thread, I needed to let it simmer awhile. Powerful writing, like this, sometimes renders me mute. When I am overwhelmed by a story’s greatness, it can be hard to find the words to express a reaction. But I always try. I have loved all of Kate’s novels and The Crimson Thread, as noted, left me speechless and moved on so many levels. It is a heartbreaking tale centred around the effects of World War II and the Nazis Germany invasion of the Greek island of Crete. Kate has written with such force that her words burrowed so deeply into my psyche that I was dreaming about this novel at night. I felt I was there not only watching the horrors but also standing along-side the broken hearted. Personally, I have always been drawn to historical fiction, for it is a powerful way to visit a time and place that would be impossible to experience otherwise. A story based on history takes us inside the decisions and events of the past that have shaped our present. I knew little of the effects of World War II on Crete before reading this novel and I have no personal connections to the island. But Kate has and this has given her an incredible advantage. The seeds of inspiration were sown by her grandfather who shared of her great-uncle’s narrow escape on the island when the Nazis dropped on Crete from the sky. Having this knowledge is one thing but possessing the skill to weave it into fiction is another. Yet Kate is an accomplished author and has powerfully and beautifully drawn creative sustenance from the stories told to her by her grandfather. Now the gift has become part of a wider circle of readers and listeners through her writing of The Crimson Thread. Those who are fortunate enough to read her book, can be fully immersed in the experiences of the courageous islanders and allies who resisted the Nazis invasion. We can learn of the horrifying events through the characters she has created to champion her story. Through her weaving of the two (real figures from history and those created in Kate’s imagination), we get a complete picture of the bodies, minds and spirits of all those who were either victims or villains on the island at the time. For a project this massive, the level of research would have been extensive. Kate has utilised the information well, and superbly captured the heart and soul of the people of the island. Though I have not been to Crete, with what I have read about the place, the setting feels authentic, too. Through Kate’s words, it is easy to imagine the atmosphere of fear during these events that hovered over the island like a mist. You can hear, feel, taste and see the warfare and sense the gut wrenching torture these people underwent. Another thread of this novel beyond the devastating World War II trauma, is a touching love story. Two men, Jack and Teddy, are inseparable childhood friends. They do everything together— including signing up to fight in the war. Once arriving on Crete, they both fall for the beautiful Alenka and this creates some interesting conflicts between them. Who will she choose? In many ways Jack and Teddy are opposites. Jack is quiet, calm and controlled, while Teddy is brassy, boisterous and hot-headed. They each tell their side of the story, along with Alenka, so we get a generous mix of viewpoints. But Alenka is more than a love interest, for she is a key player in protecting and leading those to safety under her care. This determined and brave young woman becomes a resistance fighter and, as a result, finds herself in some very dangerous situations secretly plotting against the Nazis, who try to take over her beloved island home. Even though she experiences devastating loss, her will to continue the fight for freedom remains strong; including when she is up against her own flesh and blood. Axel, her younger half-brother, is a Nazis sympathiser with a dangerous desire to be important. He will stop at nothing to achieve what he wants— even betrayal and puts his family at great risk. The Crimson Thread is more than just a World War II and love-story. It is also a re-imagining of the Greek myth The Minotaur and The Labyrinth. The novel opens with a memorable quote of Ariadne to Theseus from Ovid that sets the stage for the seven parts of the novel (a significant number to the myth) that follow. The mention of the saving ‘thread’ gives us an immediate clue (reflected also in the book’s title). Each section commences with the labyrinth image, (representing the unconscious mind) a poem and a heading (words from the poem) that reveal sections of the myth. Kate wonderfully utilises this ancient Greek folklore in poetry and prose: a story that involves a monster, an Athens prince, a Cretan princess and a thread that guides the prince to the cavern centre where the monster waits. On Kate’s website, you will find excellent background information of how this tale inspired her. (See here.) Very worthwhile to read her notes as they will provide understanding on the material inserted before each section of her story. Without question, this reimagined Greek myth woven into the World War II story of Crete is ingenious and sheds pristine light on the setting and culture. The parallels between the Greek hero, heroine and monster and those of Kate’s World War II characters are exquisite and give this novel added depth and timeless appeal. As one would expect of such an expert writer, everything is purposely placed in Kate’s novel to enhance, progress and explain the story. Even the addition of music holds a significance in The Crimson Thread (and to Kate’s family). And then there is the beautiful art and craft of embroidery that ties nicely in with the myth’s guiding thread concept. It is a stunning complex novel that is creatively told with a Greek myth at its heart. On an earthly level, the atrocities The Crimson Thread explores will leave you undone, racked by sorrow for the loss these people experienced. But all is not grim for there are little threads of hope and light, that spring out of the ashes: a jewelled lifeline that lifts the down-trodden from despair and puts a new song in their hearts. A fabulous read that is powerful, profound and perfect from start to finish. A complete (and tightly executed) masterpiece. 5+ Exceptional Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thanks to the lovely and very talented Kate Forsyth and her generous publisher, Penguin Books Australia, for my review copy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carole Rae

    Can't help myself when I see a WWII novel...especially if it has women doing their part! So yesss I was so excited to get started on this one! I've read a previous book by this author so that made me extra excited! We follow Alenka, Jack, and Teddy. Alenka is a young Greek woman who fights with the resistance against the Nazi occupation. She finds herself dealing with not only the Nazis, but her traitor of a brother, the men she loves, and being an undercover agent working for the Allies. She has Can't help myself when I see a WWII novel...especially if it has women doing their part! So yesss I was so excited to get started on this one! I've read a previous book by this author so that made me extra excited! We follow Alenka, Jack, and Teddy. Alenka is a young Greek woman who fights with the resistance against the Nazi occupation. She finds herself dealing with not only the Nazis, but her traitor of a brother, the men she loves, and being an undercover agent working for the Allies. She has a lot on her plate. Jack and Teddy are longtime friends who joined up together to see the world and fight the Nazis. They find themselves forced to retreat with the tattered remains of the Allied forces over the White Mountains. They are left behind during the evacuation from Crete. Alenka hides both of them. As Crete suffers under the Nazi boot, Alenka finds herself drawn into a dangerous triangle of conflicting emotions with Jack and Teddy. Teddy and Jack find their friendship will suffer under the strain of months of hiding and rivalry for Alenka's love. I really should read more by this author! I read a previous book a while back and liked it. And then I read this one and liked it too. This author is talented and really knows how to bring the world to life and make characters that will stay with you!! At first, I did not like Alenka at all. I thought she was whiney and annoying. She did grow on me as we went along but it took a few chapters. And then I loved her. She is a brave woman indeed! I liked Teddy and Jack. Jack more than Teddy. You can't help but root for Jack! Honestly...I had no idea what was going to happen. I was so worried! Between the Nazi scum running around and Alenka's brother????? Ugh. I was on the edge of my seat. Her brother was scum too because he LOVED the Nazis and wanted to join them and help them. Poor Alenka. Poor thing had to grow up so quickly because of the war. Normally I try and stay away from love triangles but I do make exceptions from time to time. The triangle here didn't bug me at all since it didn't take over the plot. Yes, there are a lot of feelings...but they do have bigger fish to fry so we get to see other things play out. We also didn't have over-the-top dramatic scenes that make me roll my eyes. The author did a wonderful job balancing the angst of the love issues and real-life war issues. It felt real and I applaud the author for this. There are some dark scenes, but it is war...so you know you are going to see some bad, bad stuff. The author didn't make it overly graphic so for those with weaker stomachs, you'll be okay. But yes, fair warning this is set during one of the deadliest times in history. I did shed a couple of tears. I won't spoil anything, but I did have to wipe my eyes a couple times. In the end, I simply couldn't put this down! The author is fantastic at bringing characters to life and making them complex and fascinating. You'll get swept away and not want to stop reading. You'll love the characters. I did struggle a little bit with one of the main characters, but I soon grew to love her as much as the other two. I highly recommend this for my historical fiction lovers. 5 stars from me. I'm having some good books so far for July *knocks on wood so I don't jinx this good luck*! That makes me happy...I was striking out a lot earlier in the month/end of June.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Known for weaving fairy tales into her World War II stories, in The Crimson Thread Kate Forsyth brings to her readers another incredible story combining the Battle of Crete and the Greek mythological tale of Ariadne, a Cretan princess, and the Minotaur. Jack and Teddy, two Australian soldiers and best friends since they were boys, are on Crete when the Nazis launch their airborne invasion. Unable to be rescued and rather than surrender, they opt to take to the hills and continue the fight with th Known for weaving fairy tales into her World War II stories, in The Crimson Thread Kate Forsyth brings to her readers another incredible story combining the Battle of Crete and the Greek mythological tale of Ariadne, a Cretan princess, and the Minotaur. Jack and Teddy, two Australian soldiers and best friends since they were boys, are on Crete when the Nazis launch their airborne invasion. Unable to be rescued and rather than surrender, they opt to take to the hills and continue the fight with the Cretan Resistance. Teddy is the typical Australian larrikin. He likes to drink, gamble and chase women. The woman he has his eye on, Alenka, although friendly towards him, is very protective of her reputation and resists his advances. Teddy takes this as a challenge and lets it be known, especially to Jack who he suspects is harbouring feelings for her himself, that Alenka is his girl. However, when Teddy and Jack are separated, Jack and Alenka get to know one another better through a shared love of literature and music. Jack and Teddy are opposites, with the more confident and adventurous Teddy usually the leader in their escapades. Jack is known for his quietness, the result of a stutter brought on by abuse he received as a child. He loves music, writing poetry and reading and is enthralled by the stories told to Alenka by her grandmother that she now shares with him. Jack is also interested in the customs and traditions of life in the small Cretan village and gains acceptance by his respect, willingness to help and his music. Over the course of the story, we see how Teddy's feelings for Alenka become an obsession, eventually showing a darker side to his personality. He also becomes jealous of Jack's achievements. Jack's knowledge and skills that Teddy had deprecated in the past have become valuable assets. Aside from the love triangle and the strain it puts on Jack and Teddy's friendship, the fear and hardship living under German occupation, especially with a known vengeful collaborator in their midst who will stop at nothing to ingratiate himself with the Nazis, infuses the story with even more tension. Hiding Allied soldiers and continuing to resist the Nazis brings more danger into the villagers' already perilous lives. While Jack and Teddy are fictional characters, some of the soldiers that appear in the story were actual historical figures, including Reg Saunders, who is a corporal in this story but went on to become the first Aboriginal to be commissioned as an Army officer. Another interesting inclusion is Operation Mincemeat that not only deceived the Nazis into thinking an invasion of Greece was imminent but also raised the hopes of the Cretan people. This is the first novel that I've read by Kate Forsyth. I was completely enthralled by how she wove Greek mythology into the invasion and occupation of Crete, a theatre of war I knew little about and how she created characters that I came to care for and hoped, despite the devastating setbacks, would find happiness together. I will certainly be reading more of Kate Forsyth's novels. I received a complimentary copy of this book as a participant in a blog tour. *https://adarngoodread.blogspot.com.au

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Actual rating: 4.5 This was a beautiful, thoroughly and well researched historical novel. I was amazed at how much I learned about the culture of Crete and their endurance during WWII through this novel. I felt like I was constantly looking things up on the side to learn because the book would give us a few lines but I wanted to know more. My knowledge about Greece during WW2 and their occupation is shamefully little so this book was eye opening in that regard. I think to truly appreciate this no Actual rating: 4.5 This was a beautiful, thoroughly and well researched historical novel. I was amazed at how much I learned about the culture of Crete and their endurance during WWII through this novel. I felt like I was constantly looking things up on the side to learn because the book would give us a few lines but I wanted to know more. My knowledge about Greece during WW2 and their occupation is shamefully little so this book was eye opening in that regard. I think to truly appreciate this novel you have to tie it with the inspiration of Greek mythology. There were a few creative choices I was questioning in the beginning however, once I realized how it tied with the myth of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur everything made sense! I was so embarrassed how long it took me to realize which character represented whom - it’s doubly embarrassing because it’s not like the book even hides it; they recount the tale often. I just wasn’t paying attention. It wasn’t even a twist if you were paying attention but, I was still surprised when (view spoiler)[ Teddy represented Theseus. It’s been so long I forget the details so I just went into auto pilot assuming Jack would be the hero therefore, he represents Theseus. But why would he represent him when Theseus betrays Ariadne at the end! So dumb on my account. I was also questioning on making Axel such a straightforward villain. He had literally no redeeming qualities. I was hoping that Forsyth could have at least shown a bit more on how he was a happy kid until he was bullied but, he seemed like he was always a brat and later monster. AND THEN I REALIZED WHY WOULDN’T HE BE WHEN HE REPRESENTS THE MINOTAUR. Once again, I felt so dumb when it all clicked. (hide spoiler)] The true stars of the novel are the characters both on and off screen namely Jack and Alenka. I have also never wanted to meet a woman more than Jack’s grandma. She just sounded like such a force to be reckoned with and I could read a whole book just about her. My only true complaint is I do wish we had a bit more of an ending. It didn’t feel rushed per se but it felt just a little incomplete. Like there needed to be a few more pages to tie everything up. I also don’t think the blurb sells this book well. It sounds like there’s going to be an angsty love triangle and I ALMOST avoided it based on that fact alone. However, it was like half off on kindle so I just bought it anyways and I’m glad I did! The romance is mostly in the background and it really isn’t a love triangle at all as it’s pretty obvious which one Alenka will end up with.

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