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

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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 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.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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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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