When the Cypress Whispers

When the Cypress Whispers

3.6 5
by Yvette Manessis Corporon

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On a beautiful Greek island, myths, magic, and a colorful cast of characters come together in When the Cypress Whispers, Yvette Manessis Corporon’s lushly atmospheric story about past and present, family and fate, love and dreams that poignantly captures the deep bond between an American woman and her Greek grandmother.

The daughter of Greek


On a beautiful Greek island, myths, magic, and a colorful cast of characters come together in When the Cypress Whispers, Yvette Manessis Corporon’s lushly atmospheric story about past and present, family and fate, love and dreams that poignantly captures the deep bond between an American woman and her Greek grandmother.

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she’s been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family’s old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place.

Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne’s fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death.

After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fiancé—everything she’s ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne’s new life— and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter— stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again. 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The power of family tradition and heritage is compassionately explored in Corporon’s debut about Daphne, a Greek-American woman who, having lost her husband and the father of her daughter, Evie, in a car accident in the U.S., tries to rebuild the pieces of her life in Greece. Daphne, the stressed-out owner of a high-end Greek restaurant in New York, finally gets some relief by taking the five-year-old, Evie, to the Greek island, Erikousa, where she spent idyllic summers as a child with her grandmother, “Yia-yia.” She plans to get married there to her wealthy fiancé, Stephen, whom Daphne met while applying for a loan to start the restaurant. Upon arrival, she clashes with a fisherman named Yianni, who is a close friend of her grandmother but suspicious of Americanized Greeks like Daphne. As Daphne tries to reconcile the traditions that mean so much to her with the reality of what a future would be like with the no-nonsense, work-centered Stephen, she uncovers the story (based on fact) of how the people of Erikousa saved the life of a Jewish family during WWII. Corporon, a senior producer with the entertainment show Extra, can tell a good tale, and her love for her Greek heritage permeates the story, but the trajectory of Daphne’s transformation is muddied by melodrama and ambiguity. Agent: Jan Miller and Nena Madonia, Dupree Miller & Associates, (Apr.)
“There is just enough humor to balance the heartache, and a dash of history adds depth. Readers will be transported.”
Maria Menounos
When The Cypress Whispers is an unforgettable book about what it truly means to love and be loved. . . Yvette has taken the myths, history and culture of our homeland and crafted a deeply moving story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page.”
Emily Giffin
When the Cypress Whispersis a rich, emotionally-nuanced story about a woman’s deeply held connection to her family and her past. With an evocative setting and finely-drawn characters, Corporon creates a beautiful world you won’t soon forget.”
Laura Schroff
“Exquisitely written. A profoundly beautiful love story of the magical Greek island of Erikousa and the undeniable love and bond between Daphne and her beloved Yia-yia. It’s an enchanting read exploring Greek myths and the importance of understanding your fate and following your heart.”
Mario Lopez
When the Cypress Whispers is a beautiful story about family, friendship and faith—the things I value most in life. Yvette has done a wonderful blending the past and the present to write an unforgettable novel that will make you both laugh and cry.”
Shelf Awareness
“Sun-drenched, evocative and a wee bit magical, When the Cypress Whispers is both a perfect beach read and a compelling portrait of a family of strong women.”
“A compelling and beautiful novel.”
Kirkus Reviews
A stressed-out Greek-American restaurant owner visits her grandmother on a Greek island seemingly untouched by time (or Greece's economic crisis) in this romantic tribute to her own roots by debut novelist Corporon, a producer of the syndicated TV show Extra. Tragedy stalks 35-year-old single mother Daphne. Her immigrant parents were murdered in their Yonkers diner, and her husband died at the hands of a drunk driver. She now owns a flourishing high-end restaurant in Manhattan and is engaged to rich banker Stephen, who has reluctantly agreed to hold their wedding on the island of Erikousa, home of Daphne's beloved Yia-yia, where she's spent countless happy summers. So Daphne arrives on Erikousa with her remarkably well-behaved 5-year-old daughter, Evie, to organize the occasion. Despite her life as an assimilated American, complete with nose job, Daphne soon falls back under the spell of the island's slow-paced magic. Yia-yia retells the classic Greek myths—which pointedly parallel aspects of Daphne's life—and reads the future in coffee dregs. Daphne finds herself relaxing and enjoys spending more time with Evie, but she's unsettled by her hostility toward the ruggedly handsome, well-educated fisherman who has befriended Yia-yia since Daphne's last visit. That hostility melts when he shares the truth about his Jewish family's connection to Yia-yia, who saved them from the Nazis during World War II. But by now, Stephen has arrived. Poor WASP-y Stephen. Yia-yia voices her disapproval even before she meets him, and readers' suspicions that his engagement to Daphne is doomed are cemented when he complains that there's no business center in the local hotel! Except for a mildly refreshing twist at the end, Corporon depends on easy sentiment and a predictable plot that has Daphne reconnecting with her Greek heritage, her faith and the special fate that rules the women of her family. Despite Corporon's obvious love of Greece, her manipulative storytelling is exasperating.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Yvette Manessis Corporon is a senior producer with the syndicated entertainment news show Extra. In addition to her two Emmy Awards, Yvette has received a Silurian Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the New York City Comptroller and City Council's Award for Greek Heritage and Culture.

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When the Cypress Whispers 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Erikousa was a refuge for Daphne. Spending summers with her grandmother, listening to the old myths, and finally being able to be herself. But many years later Daphne is grown up, and she is finally returning to her refuge after many years. Only now she is truly an American - running her own restaurant, 5 year old daughter in tow, and engaged to a wealthy banker. She thinks she's finally made it. When the Cypress Whispers shows that sometimes what you think you want isn't what you really want. It takes us back to Daphne's Greek roots. While there is no huge action scene or great mystery, the story unfolds beautifully. Through Daphne's grandmother and friends she is able to reconnect with the stories she knew so well as a child and learn new ones, real ones, a part of her history that is inspiring but immensely sad at the same time. The story isn't just about Daphne, it is also about her daughter who seems adrift when she first arrives in Greece. She was adorable and watching her come out of her shell while surrounded by her extended family was a lot of fun. There's a bit of a love story, but it's not a romance and it's hidden deep for most of the story. Now that spring is here and the weather is getting warmer, this would be the perfect book to enjoy with a cool drink and a fresh breeze. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Williamturner More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader of fiction and a published author. I am not surprised that “When the Cypress Whispers” has won a German book award, and it has been declared the International V Best Seller–all within a year from its publication. I predict that more awards will follow. The author has used her Greek heritage, skills as a writer, and imagination to craft an intriguing story. The book chronicles the conflicts facing Daphene, a single mother, balancing her time between five-year-old Evie and her Brooklyn restaurant; the pull of her beloved Greek island against a prospective financially secure life in New York and reconciling her love for Steve with her conflicting feelings for the mysterious fisherman, Yiani. How will Daphene deal with her love for the island– its myths and people–and her finance, a rich New York executive who strives to understand the simple life of Erikousa? Although Daphene, Yia-Yia and Yiani take center stage, Nitsa, Popi and Ari add diversity to the plot while Evie is the child star. For you food lovers, Greek cusine –such as aramosalata, tzatziki, skordalia, melitzanosalata and Stifado-will whet your appetitite. Here is my idea of spending a fall evening: curl-up before a fire with a glass of wine, and read “When the Cypress Whispers.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a lame and rushed ending, which otherwise could have been a really remarkable book. I loved learning some of the history of the Greek Jews, the Greek words, the Greek food and customs. But, seriously, "Daphne gets her light back while on the island" and the night of her grandmother's burial she breaks her engagement and then runs into the arms of someone her grandmother helped save and makes love to him "all over the fishing boat all night long" which sounds completely disgusting and unreal. Then the girl who "found her light" ends up an unwed mother in Brooklyn living with a cousin and two babies without a father and never bothers to tell this man (the one her beloved Yai Yai was so close to that he has fathered a son) -- come on now!! This is finding light; think she lost it on that island. BTW, where was Stephen’s family and friends during the wedding preparation? I have been to a Greek wedding and leading up to the wedding there was plenty of family and friends from Amerikano on the island.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
When the Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon is a novel situated in one of the most beautiful places on Earth: a small Greek island.  I just love Greece, and the book described some amazing scenery which really brought me back to the vacation my husband and I took a few years ago. In When the Cypress Whispers Daphne lost the love of her life Alex in a tragic accident.  It’s been years, and she and her daughter Evie have since moved on.  Daphne will soon marry Stephen, who is wealthy and has helped Daphne create her dream of owning a successful restaurant in NYC.  When Daphne takes Evie to the Greek isle of Erikousa before the wedding (which will be on the island later), Evie and Daphne fall back in love with this amazing place. At the same time, Daphne finds out that her grandmother, Yia-yia, is hiding a secret.  An amazing secret that makes Daphne question herself and the life she has made. I really really wanted more of the historical fiction part of the book.  It was such a tiny piece, and I think that with more of that historical fiction, which was on the island during WWII, the book would have been a great read.  It felt too glossed over for me, and left me wanting more, but not in the best way. For me, the book was a little too light, too much of a predictable story. Who is this book for?  Someone who enjoys lighter women’s fiction with a touch of unknown history thrown in. Have you ever been to Greece? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book