Thursday, July 20, 2023

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Walking on Fire, by Kathryn Crawley {ends 7/27}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

A haze of smoke filled the air. Greek folk music from the stereo could barely be heard over the din of conversation. Kate sat with Georyia the next Saturday evening in a living room filled with people. They were at the apartment of Georyia’s friend Eleni, a heavyset nurse with a ready smile, who was quizzing Kate about life in America. Greeks seemed to have an insatiable appetite to hear what things were like in the United States.

“Boyfriend in America, Kaitie?” Eleni blew cigarette smoke over her shoulder.

“Only one boyfriend?” Kate said with a laugh, hoping Eleni knew she was joking. She then raised her head and clicked her tongue, Greek-style, to say “no.” No boyfriend. Kate didn’t know when, if ever, she would share the story of her failed marriage to Jim. Divorce was rare in Greece, and Kate still considered hers as an embarrassing failure, a secret not to be divulged. Nor could she imagine describing her life in Colorado where smoking marijuana and sexual freedom were commonplace. Getting high and having casual sex didn’t fit into Greek society.

Kate’s adventure to Greece in 1974 ended up being much more than she expected!

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Walking on Fire, by Kathryn Crawley {ends 7/27}
Greece. Politics. Love. Danger. Reeling from a failed marriage and spurred on by a burgeoning sense of feminism, twenty-five-year-old Kate accepts a position as a speech therapist in a center for children with cerebral palsy in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is 1974, and the recent end of Greece’s seven-year dictatorship has ignited a fiery anti-American sentiment within the country. Despite this, as her Greek improves, Kate teaches communication to severely disabled children, creates profound friendships, and finds a home in the ancient and historied city. From a dramatic Christmas pig slaughter to a mesmerizing fire walking ceremony, her world expands rapidly—even more so when she falls in love with Thanasis, a handsome Communist.

Through Thanasis, Kate meets people determined to turn a spotlight on their former dictators’ massacre of university students, as well as their record of widespread censorship and torture of dissidents. The more she learns, the more her loyalty to her country and almost everything she was taught in her conservative home state of Texas is challenged. Kate is transformed by her odyssey, but when her very safety is threatened by the politics of her lover, she must choose: risk everything to stay with Thanasis and the Greece that has captured her heart, or remove herself from harm’s way by returning to her homeland?

At the beginning of the story, Kate is a unique combination of independent and naive. She’s lived in a few different states since completing her formal education in speech therapy and getting married ... and divorced. Now she’s ready to really branch out and move half-way around the world for a job in Greece that she saw in a journal. She didn’t speak any Greek when she applied, but the kind woman who hired her assured her that she could pick up enough as she went along in her job helping children. 

Shortly before she packs her things and gets ready to move to Greece for the year, she finds out the political climate isn’t very hospitable to Americans. It gives her a few second thoughts, but she really doesn’t  understand how someone could hate a whole population the way they’re trying to make it sound. The woman from the center who hired her assures her that they’ll be her Greek family and keep her safe. The situation is reasonably comfortable, until Kate starts making some choices and adventures on her own.

While the story takes place almost 50 years ago, it felt contemporary and the descriptions of Greece were beautiful. The commentary about the people, customs, and culture were also interesting. This was an enjoyable book that earned 3 out of 5 stars. It would be recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction, especially in a memoir style. 

{click here to purchase on Amazon}

Becki Bayley enjoys learning about the world by reading historical fiction from the comfort of her porch. Check out her view and what she’s reading on Instagram where she posts as PoshBecki.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Walking on Fire!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, July 27th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Walking on Fire, by Kathryn Crawley


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