Today I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour for She Came To Stay by Eleni Kyriacou.
Debut novelist and The Future Bookshelf alumni Eleni Kyriacou brings us the compelling story of one Greek Cypriot immigrant as she makes her way in the grimy and glittering streets of Soho, London in 1952. Inspired by the author’s parents, She Came to Stay is an emotionally charged story about friendship and fallout, hope and heartbreak, and the consequences of our darkest secrets.
For fans of Kate Furnivall and Rachel Rhys.
In a city of strangers, who can you trust?
London, 1952. Dina Demetriou has travelled from Cyprus for a better life. She’s certain that excitement, adventure and opportunity are out there, waiting – if only she knew where to look.
Her passion for clothes and flair for sewing land her a job repairing the glittering costumes at the notorious Pelican Revue. It’s here that she befriends the mysterious and beautiful Bebba.
With her bleached-blonde hair and an appetite for mischief, Bebba is like no Greek Dina has ever met before. She guides Dina around the fashionable shops, bars and clubs of Soho, and Dina finally feels life has begun.
But Bebba has a secret. And as thick smog brings the city to a standstill, the truth emerges with devastating results. Dina’s new life now hangs by a thread. What will be left when the fog finally clears? And will Dina be willing to risk everything to protect her future?
She Came To Stay is a strong debut that kept me enthralled. Atmospheric and engrossing 1950s Soho was almost as much of a character as Dina and the mysterious Bebba. Still very much under the watchful eye of her older brother, Dina dreams of breaking free to live her life her way. She doesn’t want to be found a husband and settle down to a quiet life as wife and mother. She dreams of making a life for herself as well as finding her own husband. She meets the glamorous, exciting Bebba and begins to feel her confidence grow but Bebba is not all she seems. Dina soon to realises that lies surround her and danger is not far behind.
This was certainly an exciting read. The beginning was a little slow but this enabled the scene to be set and London of the 1950s to be brought to life. The smog and hardship a juxtaposition against the glamour of jazz clubs, changing fashions as they moved further away from the war years. I loved the historical details of events of the time, they added a real depth to the story. The story soon picked up the pace as events moved on and I was soon gripped. Dina’s world slowly fell into nightmare as Bebba’s past caught up with her. I wondered how she was going to get through and how she could turn events around and save herself. It was certainly exciting and well plotted. I thought the end was particularly good.
Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for Hodder Books for my review copy.
About the author
Eleni Kyriacou is an award-winning editor and journalist. She has worked in various roles across publishing and her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, Marie Claire, Grazia, You, Stella and Red, among others. Eleni was the Editor of national magazines New Woman and Looks and has also worked in digital media. The daughter of Greek Cypriot immigrant parents, Eleni has never felt completely British nor Cypriot, but has always felt a Londoner. She was born and grew up in Camden, then Elephant & Castle, Finsbury Park, Tottenham and now lives in Ealing. She has lived north, south and west. East London is another country to her. Every year, she has long conversations with friends and family about leaving London but probably never will…