The sixth novel:
Now live on Amazon
Two teenage sisters, growing up in the Plaka district of Athens, Greece. Their parents keep a taverna, where there is music and dancing regularly. Life seems idyllic, and the girls can't think of anything that they ought to worry about, except for having a good time.
The only problem is, this is the late 1930's, and things are about to change in ways they could never have imagined.
An old woman lies dying in a hospice in the UK. She has an incurable cancer and is in the early stages of dementia. Yet, in her lucid moments, she wants to tell her story, before it's too late and her secrets are lost forever, to the only person who will listen. That person is her nephew, a retired accountant who has the time to sit and keep her company during her long, lonely, final days.
Panayiota was a teenager when the Germans walked into Athens in 1941. How she ended up in a hospice in the UK is the subject of an extraordinary tale, during the telling of which her nephew will learn things that will shake what he believes about his family and himself to the very core.
"I'm immensely proud of this book and, to be honest, can't quite believe that it came out of my head. Yet much credit must go to both my wife's mother and her family, who were the richest source of information about the historical setting for the story.
My wife's mother, Lela, was born in Athens at the same time as my fictional heroine, Panayiota, and lived through the same frightening experiences as her. Plus, there were events that happened in Lela's family from which I've borrowed heavily in the construction of the story.
If you read the introduction, "Panayiota - the background," as well as the Author's note "Explanations and excuses" at the end, you'll learn about this in greater detail.
The initial reviews on Amazon, on both sides of the Atlantic, have all given it five stars, and on the book addicts' web site "Goodreads" it's also scored mainly five star ratings.
If you decide to give it a chance, and enjoy it, I'd be so grateful if you too would take the time to add a review anywhere and everywhere you feel you can.
Panayiota has also received a "Chill With a Book" award. The "Chill With a Book" readers group is an independent group that specialises in reading and rating the work of independent authors. If a book receives their award, then it has to have satisfied quite a number if criteria to have succeeded."
John Manuel, Rhodes, March 2019
Please share this page if you feel inclined.
It can help make others aware of my written works, since I have no publicity machine to do it for me.
Click on the image above to go to Amazon to purchase "Panayiota" in either Kindle or paperback format.
"Another fantastic read from John. I read this in 2 nights. I was so engrossed in the story, I just had to know what happened next. Brilliant!!"
"John Manuel’s latest book is a gem. It tells a tale of two young girls and their will to survive during the Nazi occupation of Athens in WWII. The back story of George and his Aunt Panagiota brings the story full circle, You won’t want to put it down and you won’t see what’s coming. Mr. Manuel has outdone himself, once again."
"You will want to keep turning the pages that take you from the horrors of WWII Athens to England and back, as Giorgos discovers the tangled web of his Aunt Panayiota’s life. You will be enthralled with how the dying Panayiota puts into place a plan for her beloved nephew's life. The book has you hooked from the first chapter."
Thanks to the German Federal Archive for the use of the main image of the Parthenon, from 1941.
The two photographs below were taken in Plaka in the summer of 2014. They show the very street which was used as the descriptive inspiration for the location of the taverna in the story.