Katianna receives a solicitor’s letter summoning her to Omodos, a mountain village in Cyprus.
What is at first an inconvenient trip quickly becomes more attractive as she spends more time there. Flooded with many childhood memories, she falls in love with her roots and relishes in the relaxed pace and warmth of her cousin and the Cypriot people she meets. And then there’s the simmering attention of the builder tasked with renovating the village house Katianna has inherited from her maternal grandmother.
Grappling with yo-yoing emotions, she returns home. But in London all is not well for her award-winning dating agency; her world is threatened, turned upside down, forcing her to question everything she believes in and has worked so hard for.
She travels back and forth and has to face the fact she has to sell the only connection left to her family.
But can Katianna have everything? Will she find a way to hold onto her business? Or will the pull of her heartstrings and the village house entice her to start over in a place closer to home than she ever imagined.
I visited the village of Omodos in May 2019, with my parents and my partner, and was instantly enthralled with its vivacity, its authenticity, and its quiet, understated charm.
I remember sitting and drinking a cool glass of water under the tangled branches of a mulberry tree, wandering through the little streets and lanes where I came upon Maria who was making lace doilies and I bought two jug covers from her. She sent me on my way with a thousand blessings and the biggest smile. We visited the beautiful chapel and an exhibition of ancient icons from hundreds of years ago.
We stumbled across some old village houses, abandoned, derelict and I guess that’s what ignited the story for The Village House so I hope you’re as excited about this next book as I am.
Katianna is a successful entrepreneur who runs her own multi award-winning dating agency, Under the Setting Sun, in London where she also lives. She has Cypriot roots (her mother was Cypriot) yet has not visited her homeland since childhood. Her parents have both passed away.
She puts everything she has into ensuring the business is and continues to be a success; sees it as a reflection of her own worth. A woman who is driven, successful and financially secure.
A letter from a solicitor arrives summoning her to Cyprus; she has inherited her yiayia’s, grandmother’s, house.
In Cyprus, she is flooded with emotions and memories of childhood holidays and time spent with her yiayia in the mountain village of Omodos, surrounded by lush green vineyards. Her feelings surprise her, and she is not altogether comfortable with them.
She stays with her cousin, who helps her to navigate the building work which needs completing before THE VILLAGE HOUSE is ready for sale. He introduces her to a local builder, Polis, and the sympathetic renovation work begins. Savva also introduces her to Sofia, a woman who runs one of the coffee shops in the village, who is as equally driven as Katianna, and also Mihalis, a local restaurateur.
As the renovations unfold, sympathetically honouring the fabric of the old house, Katianna realises that she has feelings for Polis and also, growing closer to Sofia, who teaches her how to cook some traditional Greek foods, senses something between Savva and Sofia. Sofia reveals Savva’s involvement in an accident which left Sofia seriously burnt when they were both messing around as children.
Back in London, she discovers from John, her accountant, who later has a TIA and is hospitalised, that the agency is in huge debt and a bank loan is not forthcoming. She reluctantly considers selling the village house in order to cover the debts and save her business from financial ruin when John is not keen to approach his sister, Vicki, a financial investment angel, to help Katianna. Angie, her PA, reveals her mother has dementia. There is hope when a TV company offers her a princely sum for a fly-on-the wall series based on the agency which goes some way to solving Katianna’s money problems.
Back in Cyprus, she decides to put the house on the market but is shocked with the attitude of investors towards the traditional renovation of the property, the pull of her roots ever present in her decisions thereafter. Katianna also becomes emotionally entangled with Polis but their relationship is fraught with doubts, misunderstandings, and complications.
The story, however, finishes with a New Year’s Eve dinner celebration in THE VILLAGE HOUSE with Polis, Sofia and Savva, Angie, John and Vicki. Katianna has found happiness and love through THE VLLAGE HOUSE and her roots, proving you can have it all.
This book evoked so many memories for me. It is a beautiful portrayal of a young woman, who thinks she knows exactly how her life will pan out, that is, until the arrival of the Solicitor’s letter, which brings forth unanswered questions, and makes her confront her roots, the essence of the family she left behind, and the ties that bind us to them.
Soulla draws you into this world with beautiful descriptions, that you feel the warmth and ambiance of the Village, as it folds its warm arms around you. It captivates the reader with the delicious smells and tastes of the Cypriot Cuisine, as though you are sitting at the table with the characters. Most of all, her depiction of village life arouses a sentimental feeling in the reader, that draws you in.
It’s a beautifully written book, and teaches us that we all have roots somewhere, and we should never deny them, because that is who we are.
I highly recommend it.
Daisy Wood, Amazon Review
Another incredible love story from Soulla. I admire the main character because she is a strong and ambitious woman but at the same time so deep and emotional. I felt sunshine and warmth while reading the book even though it’s winter time! So put a kettle on and enjoy the story!
Amazon Verified Purchase/Review