Monday, July 3, 2017

Appointment with Yesterday by Christopher Stratakis (Review & Giveaway)

Today, I'm kicking off the tour for Christopher Stratakis' first novel. It's a coming-of-age immigrant story that I devoured in two days. This one is an Indie gem. Read what I thought of it and then scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a copy!

Book Details:

Book Title: Appointment with Yesterday: A Novel in Four Parts with a Prologue and an Epilogue
Author: Christopher Stratakis
Category: Adult Fiction, 334 pages
Genre: coming-of-age / WWII / immigrant experience
Publisher: IndieReader
Release date: January 2017
Tour dates: July 3 to 14, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is no bad language or violence, but there are references to sex and sexual situations (including between a pre-teen and teen)

Book Description:

A poignant and compelling first novel, Appointment with Yesterday tells the story of Yanni, a cheeky and delightful Greek boy growing up in a small town on an island in the eastern Aegean.

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

Filled with heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of love, devotion, disenchantment, and dashed dreams, Appointment with Yesterday is, ultimately, the story of hardships overcome and a determined boy’s journey toward finding his destiny.

Buy the Book:

My Review:

I love when I pick up a book without knowing anything about it and discover an Indie gem. Although I wasn't too taken in with the book cover or the title, I was thrilled to discover this book. It's one of the best books I've read this year!

Based, to a large extent on the author's own life story, Appointment with Yesterday is a coming-of-age novel that begins with an old man in Greece, sitting on the veranda of his country home facing the sea and reminiscing on his life. We then go back in time to the story of Yanni, a Greek boy who lives on Erytha, a remote Aegean island, with his extended family, in particular his grandparents who have been raising him since he was a baby. His parents went back to America with the hope that they would soon return, but the years went by and it was only when Yanni was sixteen that he is reunited with them when he emigrates to New York City, where they live.

Yanni is a curious and vivacious boy who grows up loving the sea and his life on the island. He longs for his parents, and feels their abandonment, but is loved by his extended family and develops a very close relationship with them. I loved reading about his early life and the island ways. When Germany invades during WWII, even this small island gets swarmed with soldiers who starve the people when they take control of the food source. Yanni and his family go through some hard times and it teaches Yanni tough life lessons. I had never read about WWII from the perspective of a Greek boy who lived through it, so this made the story even more interesting.

When Yanni finally joins his parents in America, he experiences unbridled joy and excitement but also disappointment and painful disillusionment. As an immigrant he must learn a new language, a new way of life and live with family members who are essentially strangers. Yanni is a survivor though, and he works hard to succeed. As a reader, one cannot help but cheer him as he navigates his way through all of these ups and downs. 

Appointment with Yesterday is a fictionalized memoir that was such a pleasure to read. As the daughter of immigrant parents, this book resonated with me. Greeks and Italians are similar in culture. This book is beautifully written and the characters as well as the island of Erytha came to life under this author's deft pen. I was invested in the story and Yanni's life from the first page. For lovers of historical fiction and coming-of-age stories, this one will not disappoint. It made it's way on my list of Best Reads for 2017.

To read more reviews, please visit Christopher Stratakis' page on iRead Book Tours.

Meet the Author:

Christopher Stratakis was born and raised in Greece. After moving to America, he graduated from Drexel University in 1951 and New York University School of Law in 1955. Shortly after joining the law firm of Poles, Tublin & Patestides in 1960, he became a partner, specializing in admiralty and corporate law.

He has written and published several articles, lectured on professional and historical subjects, served as Legal Advisor to several non-profits (pro bono), and was an arbitrator in maritime disputes. He is the author of Mnimes “Memories” (2010), a book of essays, short stories, and poems that he wrote as a teenager. In 2015, he co-edited Chains on Parallel Roads, a book published by Panchiaki “Korais” Society of New York. In recognition of his extensive community involvement, he has been the recipient of several awards from religious, governmental, and educational institutions.

Mr. Stratakis lives with his wife in New York City. He is the proud father of three and grandfather of three. This is his first novel.

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Ends July 22

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