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Seventy years after her grandmother helped hide a Jewish family on a Greek island during World War II, a woman sets out to track down their descendants—and discovers a new way to understand tragedy, forgiveness, and the power of kindness. Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of the small Greek island Erikousa hid a Jew Seventy years after her grandmother helped hide a Jewish family on a Greek island during World War II, a woman sets out to track down their descendants—and discovers a new way to understand tragedy, forgiveness, and the power of kindness. Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of the small Greek island Erikousa hid a Jewish family—a tailor named Savvas and his daughters—from the Nazis during World War II. Nearly 2,000 Jews from that area died in the concentration camps, but even though everyone on Erikousa knew Savvas and his family were hiding on the island, no one ever gave them up, and the family survived the war. Years later, Yvette couldn’t get the story of the Jewish tailor out of her head. She decided to track down the man’s descendants—and eventually found them in Israel. Their tearful reunion was proof to her that evil doesn’t always win. But just days after she made the connection, her cousin’s child was gunned down in a parking lot in Kansas, a victim of a Neo-Nazi out to inflict as much harm as he could. Despite her best hopes, she was forced to confront the fact that seventy years after the Nazis were defeated, it was still happening today. As Yvette and her family wrestled with the tragedy in their own lives, the lessons she learned from the survivors of the Holocaust helped her confront and make sense of the present. In beautifully told interweaving storylines, the past and present come together in a nuanced, heartfelt story about the power of faith, the importance of kindness, and the courage to stand up for what’s right in the face of great evil.


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Seventy years after her grandmother helped hide a Jewish family on a Greek island during World War II, a woman sets out to track down their descendants—and discovers a new way to understand tragedy, forgiveness, and the power of kindness. Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of the small Greek island Erikousa hid a Jew Seventy years after her grandmother helped hide a Jewish family on a Greek island during World War II, a woman sets out to track down their descendants—and discovers a new way to understand tragedy, forgiveness, and the power of kindness. Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of the small Greek island Erikousa hid a Jewish family—a tailor named Savvas and his daughters—from the Nazis during World War II. Nearly 2,000 Jews from that area died in the concentration camps, but even though everyone on Erikousa knew Savvas and his family were hiding on the island, no one ever gave them up, and the family survived the war. Years later, Yvette couldn’t get the story of the Jewish tailor out of her head. She decided to track down the man’s descendants—and eventually found them in Israel. Their tearful reunion was proof to her that evil doesn’t always win. But just days after she made the connection, her cousin’s child was gunned down in a parking lot in Kansas, a victim of a Neo-Nazi out to inflict as much harm as he could. Despite her best hopes, she was forced to confront the fact that seventy years after the Nazis were defeated, it was still happening today. As Yvette and her family wrestled with the tragedy in their own lives, the lessons she learned from the survivors of the Holocaust helped her confront and make sense of the present. In beautifully told interweaving storylines, the past and present come together in a nuanced, heartfelt story about the power of faith, the importance of kindness, and the courage to stand up for what’s right in the face of great evil.

30 review for Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    A lot of the literature of WWII focuses on the Holocaust as it took place in Germany and France and Poland for the most part, so I found this book fascinating because it dealt with an aspect that I knew little about - the story of how some Jews in Greece were hidden and saved during the war by some good people who believed in the goodness of all people. This is a beautiful tribute to Yvette Manessis Corporon's grandparents and to the people of the small island of Erikousa. After the war, lives A lot of the literature of WWII focuses on the Holocaust as it took place in Germany and France and Poland for the most part, so I found this book fascinating because it dealt with an aspect that I knew little about - the story of how some Jews in Greece were hidden and saved during the war by some good people who believed in the goodness of all people. This is a beautiful tribute to Yvette Manessis Corporon's grandparents and to the people of the small island of Erikousa. After the war, lives go on and her grandparents eventually move to the US and they lose contact with the Savvas family who they saved. Corporon shares wonderful stories of her childhood growing up in a Greek family and her special bond with her grandparents. She is captivated by her grandmother's stories and makes it her mission to find out what happened to the Jewish family. While heartbreaking and gut wrenching as all Holocaust stories are, this is a beautiful story of the courage of the people who put their lives at risk. It reminded me of others who did the same as depicted in My Mother's Secret, and Schindler's List and Irena's Children. I loved how the author put so much time and effort into bringing the descendants of these two families together which brought them the joy and sadness of their shared past and created an everlasting bond. As with other Holocaust stories, the message is so important and so clear - we can't forget and we can't let it happen again. The saddest thing is that the hate does still exist and it should be a wake up call to all of us that hate crimes still happen as they did to members of Corporan's family by a neo Nazi who thought they were Jewish. Yet , her cousin Mindy still found hope and the means to move forward. Amazingly strong people in the face of loss which is hard to imagine. However, I found it disheartening and scary as we recently saw the crowds of neo Nazis carrying torches and chanting Nazi slogans of old in the streets of Charlottesville. This makes it so imperative that the continued telling and reading of Holocaust stories continues because as the inscription on a Corfu Holocaust memorial statue reads "Never Again For Any Nation " . It's not perfect in the telling as I found it a little repetitive in parts, but perfect in the caring and love and courage shown by these people. Highly recommended. It's an important story to read and remember. I received an advanced copy of this book from Howard Books through NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to NETGALLEY for an uncorrected proof in exchange for an honest review. Oh my goodness, my fellow Goodreaders, this is a beautiful piece of non- fiction that we (or at least I) needed tonight. The author's family were residents of a Greek island that hid a Jewish family during the Nazi occupation. The author decides that she must do what she can to track down the family members. At the same time, her family is rocked by a anti-Semitic attack in the United States that kills two of her fa Thanks to NETGALLEY for an uncorrected proof in exchange for an honest review. Oh my goodness, my fellow Goodreaders, this is a beautiful piece of non- fiction that we (or at least I) needed tonight. The author's family were residents of a Greek island that hid a Jewish family during the Nazi occupation. The author decides that she must do what she can to track down the family members. At the same time, her family is rocked by a anti-Semitic attack in the United States that kills two of her family members. All I have to say, is grab the flipping KLEENEX! Thank you to author Yvette Manessis Corporon as I will certainly not forget this beautiful story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    A holocaust story and a recent hate crime, two events separated by seventy years and apparently unrelated to each other except for the fact that they involved members of the author’s extended family. These events anchor this memoir to provide optimistic life lessons by honoring the good that can grow out of evil events. The author grew up hearing stories about her grandmother’s youthful years living on a small Greek island. Included with those stories was an account of a Jewish tailor and his dau A holocaust story and a recent hate crime, two events separated by seventy years and apparently unrelated to each other except for the fact that they involved members of the author’s extended family. These events anchor this memoir to provide optimistic life lessons by honoring the good that can grow out of evil events. The author grew up hearing stories about her grandmother’s youthful years living on a small Greek island. Included with those stories was an account of a Jewish tailor and his daughters who were able to hide from the Nazis on the island during WWII. After her grandmother’s death the author became curious about this story and began efforts to locate descendants of this Jewish family. Just when this effort began to meet with some success the author received news that her nephew and his grandfather had been gunned down in a hate crime on April 13, 2014 in Overland Park, Kansas. This recent tragic event becomes part of this memoir's story while asking the question, how does one go on with life after events like this. The book describes efforts made in response to both events that were made to honor the good in life and spread better understanding in the battle against hate. As the author recounts these events we also learn about the history of removal of Jews from Greece by the Nazis as well as a description of the author's childhood as part of the Greek immigrant community in America. The book tells the story of the founding of the Faith Always Wins Foundation to promote "dialogue for the betterment of our world through kindness, faith and healing." It was founded by the mother and daughter of the nephew and grandfather who were slain in Overland Park. Also, the book's narrative climaxes with an account of a reunion of descendants of the WWII era story on the small Greek island to honor and memorialize the bravery of those involved with that incident. All these events are described with words saturated in emotion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kate Forsyth

    I picked up this book because I’m currently working on a novel set in Greece during World War II, and am interested in reading more stories about that terrible time. Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to the story of how her grandparents helped save the lives of a Jewish family on their small Greek island of Erikousa, near Corfu. After the war, her grandparents moved to the US and lost contact with the family whom they saved. As she grows up, Yvette begins to wonder about what happened t I picked up this book because I’m currently working on a novel set in Greece during World War II, and am interested in reading more stories about that terrible time. Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to the story of how her grandparents helped save the lives of a Jewish family on their small Greek island of Erikousa, near Corfu. After the war, her grandparents moved to the US and lost contact with the family whom they saved. As she grows up, Yvette begins to wonder about what happened to them – they moved away too but no-one knows where. Her work as a journalist means Yvette is used to searching out stories. She begins to dig, and runs into many dead-ends, but becomes more and more determined to find out what happened to them. She hopes the family, who lost so much, has found peace and happiness, and given birth to new generations. During her long search, a terrible tragedy in her own family makes it clear to her that hatred and prejudice and evil still exist in the world – her husband’s cousin loses both her father and her son in a neo-Nazi shooting attack. The shock and sorrow and disbelief at this senseless act of violence reverberates throughout her family and life, and makes the search for the descendants of the family her ancestors saved seem even more important. 
The two stories interweave together, in a powerful and moving story of courage, kindness and faith, that had me in tears. A really surprising and heartfelt memoir that shows that the past lives in us still.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    Fascinating story about Corfu and Erikousa and the treatment of the Jews during WWII. I did not care for the writing, the parallel stories felt convoluted, and I especially disliked the serendipity factor as it felt... sugar coated.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Those who know me well, or even those who know mw just a little bit, know that its my life theme to try to make meaning and keep faith throughout all the difficult and challenging things that happen to us, large and small. To find a place where suffering and grief can be transformed. That somehow, things turn out right. That miracles conspire to tell us that being good, seeing good, doing good, matters, and matters over the face of evil. I think one of the reasons I am drawn to Holocaust and WW2 Those who know me well, or even those who know mw just a little bit, know that its my life theme to try to make meaning and keep faith throughout all the difficult and challenging things that happen to us, large and small. To find a place where suffering and grief can be transformed. That somehow, things turn out right. That miracles conspire to tell us that being good, seeing good, doing good, matters, and matters over the face of evil. I think one of the reasons I am drawn to Holocaust and WW2 books, is the amazing, and especially the true stories, of the survivors. All the incredible moments that happened to make a person live, and then reproduce, and have their families tell their stories. Recently on Dancing with the Stars, celebrity Jeannie Mai told the story about how her family survived against all odds, to escape Vietnam and come to America. Not a dry eye in the house. Her story is a story that belongs to all of us - one of resilience and hope and meaning. I have been wanting to read this story. But on a day I and everyone I know have desperately needed hope, to believe in a world and a God that makes sense, today I needed to read this story. I probably read it in two days time. And it wasn't easy. It was difficult. But the message could not be more clear. That when evil happens, we rise and we fight it. That Faith Wins, Faith Always Wins. That our good deeds not only matter, they save the world. Our choice to live by doing the right thing not only matters, it saves, and heals, and touches, and shapes, and moves, and transforms, not just us, but an entire world. Yvette Corporon is a investigative journalist and media producer. She is also the granddaughter of a very special family from Corfu, Greece, specifically a small island off Greece. She was incredibly close to her grandmother, and it wasn't very much before she lost her grandmother, that she learned her grandmother's secret. That they housed a Jewish Family during the Nazi occupation in Corfu, risking their lives, to make sure these girls and their father survived. But not just them. The entire island kept the secret, and each did their part to make the survival happen. Not just one person, one family, an entire island. Shocked with the revelation of this, Yvette teams up with My Heritage and Yad Vashem, and feels so compelled by the story, that against all odds, she finds them. The sisters and their father and their descendants, and makes a circle with many Jewish families lost and survived from Corfu. That would be extraordinary enough. but no, that's only half the story of the book. The other half is about Reat and Bill and Mindy. A tragedy too devastating for anyone, any mother to contemplate, and how that changes the world, and intertwines with Yvette's story. While researching and living out this story, Yvette's "nephew" Reat, aged 14, is senselessly killed at the JCC in Overland Park, Kansas, by a Neo Nazi, looking to kill Jews. Reat, and his grandfather Bill, and another healthcare worker Terri, are killed, none of them Jewish. And in a bizarre overlay, non-Jews are pulled into this scenario of hate, and aa beautiful 14 year old with all the promise in the world, with a larger than life grandfather, loses their lives in an instant. Terry too. Yvette is stunned, so is the world. It was big news when it happened. So much un-necessary violence, so many people, children, lost. Who can make sense of this? At the center of this is Mindy, (and their family and community) who loses her father and son in an instant. But Mindy, who no doubt grieved like any mother and daughter, howling with the senselessness, does the impossible. She fights for life and goodness.. She starts an interfaith organization called Faith Always Wins. She promotes Seven Days of Goodness in her father and son's honor. She stands for Muslim and Christian and Jewish families who have lost their loved ones to hate. She finds a way not just to live, but to heal and transform the world. Mindy is extraordinary, but so is Yvette's grandmother and the entire village and island that saves a family. This is a story of resilience from evil, and how to believe that we can make a difference - and on this material plane. Again, anyone who knows me, knows I believe in miracles, and in holding onto faith even when the evidence seems incontrovertible. That even in the worst of times, that justice will prevail, that light enters, that God or source is with us. That it will all come out right - That Faith Always Wins. That out of tragedy, Something Beautiful Happens. Every time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    “Something Beautiful Happened” by Yvette Manessis Corporon, published by Howard Books. Category – Memoir Publication Date – September 12, 2017. Yvette’s grandmother told her the story of people on a small Greek Island, Erikousa, that during the Nazi occupation were able to hide a Jewish family. The fantastic part of the story is that although not everyone agreed on hiding them, no one turned them in. Yvette, like most of us, listened to the stories but it went in one ear and out the other. It is no “Something Beautiful Happened” by Yvette Manessis Corporon, published by Howard Books. Category – Memoir Publication Date – September 12, 2017. Yvette’s grandmother told her the story of people on a small Greek Island, Erikousa, that during the Nazi occupation were able to hide a Jewish family. The fantastic part of the story is that although not everyone agreed on hiding them, no one turned them in. Yvette, like most of us, listened to the stories but it went in one ear and out the other. It is not until it is too late that one finds that one should have not only been listening but writing this history down. Yvette could not get these stories out of her mind and made an unreal attempt not only to find out more about the story but also to find the survivors of this family. Unraveling this mystery brought the horrors of the Holocaust to light, but not only in the context of World War II but also in modern day America. It was during her search that her young nephew was gunned down in Mid-America by a gunman who was a Neo-Nazi and was out to kill Jews. A really nice story that lets the reader know how far we haven’t come since the rise of Hitler. How. Even today, that hate lives on and seems to be on the rise. A hate that is not only targeting the Jewish community but it seems all facets of our existence.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    If I had stopped half way through, this would have maybe been 3 stars. It had so much potential, but the author tried to weave two stories together, and the story of her grandmother gets totally lost. The tragedy in the JCC was an incredible loss, and certainly deserves to be told, but it tilted the book into a jumble of religious stories, grasping at miracles, and lost the true meaning of what the island did for the jewish family. Faith, love and hope are ways to better the world, but the book If I had stopped half way through, this would have maybe been 3 stars. It had so much potential, but the author tried to weave two stories together, and the story of her grandmother gets totally lost. The tragedy in the JCC was an incredible loss, and certainly deserves to be told, but it tilted the book into a jumble of religious stories, grasping at miracles, and lost the true meaning of what the island did for the jewish family. Faith, love and hope are ways to better the world, but the book goes over the edge in trying to integrate the tragedy in KC to the original story. Also, the author had an expert company do her search, so the process of discovery was not her sweat and tears. For those who struggle doing genealogy across the continents, we have no contacts to do the work for us. Also, because I lived in KC for a long time. One, the Jewish Community Center is in Overland Park, not Stilwell. And.... like any other big city there is the good and the bad, the suburbs may seem idyllic and fairy tale like, but the urban communities struggle with all the issues of any big city - poverty, poor education system, racism etc. And now that I have written this, maybe it is only 1 star, for the effort .

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    I almost never quit reading a book without finishing it. I could not finish this one. I made it through 65% according to my app. I think the story itself of the authors yia-yia’s family’s heroic efforts to save the Jewish family in Greece was fascinating. I wish the book stayed more focused on that—I would have loved to have heard even more detail there. I found the author’s writing style to be very hard to follow, jumping from one timeframe to another, with no real sense of cohesion between the I almost never quit reading a book without finishing it. I could not finish this one. I made it through 65% according to my app. I think the story itself of the authors yia-yia’s family’s heroic efforts to save the Jewish family in Greece was fascinating. I wish the book stayed more focused on that—I would have loved to have heard even more detail there. I found the author’s writing style to be very hard to follow, jumping from one timeframe to another, with no real sense of cohesion between them. I tried hard, but ultimately gave up when the book never found a rhythm to the writing. The amount of narrative that felt too far disconnected from the main story became wearisome and tedious. I really wish this had been better edited, the scope of the book narrowed, and that it had been presented more or less in chronological order.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cindy H.

    Wow! I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally moved from this book. I cried so HARD, SO MANY TIMES (I have a migraine to prove it). A story woven around many stories, all true & each one compelling & astonishing. An entire Greek Island risking their lives to hide the Jewish tailor and his daughters during the Holocaust, a deeply religious Catholic family in Kansas, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide & an Israeli web developer all converge in this heartfelt journey of piecing together a family puzz Wow! I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally moved from this book. I cried so HARD, SO MANY TIMES (I have a migraine to prove it). A story woven around many stories, all true & each one compelling & astonishing. An entire Greek Island risking their lives to hide the Jewish tailor and his daughters during the Holocaust, a deeply religious Catholic family in Kansas, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide & an Israeli web developer all converge in this heartfelt journey of piecing together a family puzzle. I never had trouble following the threads and I thought the book was constructed seamlessly. Once I started reading I could not stop. Grab a box of tissues and this book. It will remind you that there is always light in a world of darkness.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelle

    I found it difficult to stay engaged with this book. I think the story is important, but the way it unfolded for me was too convoluted. The two separate yet loosely connected storylines seemed too apart from each other. I understand why it was important for the author to link them since they were personal to her, but from my perspective, the current events detracted from the main story. Greece’s involvement with the Holocaust was new for me and I would be interested in reading more about it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    I have read a lot of books about the Holocaust but never anything from this area of Europe. I have mixed feelings about the book. I appreciated the story of the Greek island of Erikousa and how they banded together to save a Jewish family. It’s so helpful and important to hear stories of bravery and courage in hard times. It was fascinating seeing how the author and so many others worked to piece together what happened to this family. The ending was largely satisfying except for one thing. After a I have read a lot of books about the Holocaust but never anything from this area of Europe. I have mixed feelings about the book. I appreciated the story of the Greek island of Erikousa and how they banded together to save a Jewish family. It’s so helpful and important to hear stories of bravery and courage in hard times. It was fascinating seeing how the author and so many others worked to piece together what happened to this family. The ending was largely satisfying except for one thing. After all the meticulous research and searching, they find that one person may still be alive but they don’t pull that thread to see what unravels. It felt as if there was a gaping hole. The other difficult thing about this book is the vast amount of people covered. It felt like each person mentioned had their story told regardless of if they were really connected to the Savvas family or not. Rather than being focused on the Savvas family, the book was more focused on the hunt for the Savvas family. The story jumps around from Greece to Israel to Kansas to Rwanda and the result is that it feels a little disjointed. It could have been a lot tighter and more focused, I felt. This book wasn’t a fast read but I felt I had to read it fast to keep all the people and connections straight. For me, I find that when books jump around between stories, I find one story more compelling and interesting than the other. This affects the pace for me. Some parts lag while other parts don’t. I would give a cautious recommendation of this book. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to those interested in genealogy research or to those who appreciate a slower paced, intricate, true story. If you’re more interested in mysteries and suspense or even historical fiction where the story is more fleshed out, this may not be the book for you. Thank you to Howard Books for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    The subject clearly meant a lot to the author . The stories of Nazis were moving and terrifying. This book was frustrating to read . The author jumped around with no apparent connection. She also repeated herself . I found myself saying you already told me that out loud !

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    The topic of the people of Erikousa saving the Jewish girls was fascinating. I would have liked the focus to stay on that aspect. The other story of the shooting in Kansas seemed forced to join with this one. The connection seemed loose to me. I thought the author was too sugary in her writing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I was saddened when just after starting this book the night before, 11 members of a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed by someone hating Jews so much. Yvette's family is Greek Christian Orthodox, on her husband's side are committed Methodist Christians--two of whom, including their 14 year old nephew, were mistaken as Jews and killed when they arrived at a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas in 2014. They happened to be there because it was a "community" center for all peopl I was saddened when just after starting this book the night before, 11 members of a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed by someone hating Jews so much. Yvette's family is Greek Christian Orthodox, on her husband's side are committed Methodist Christians--two of whom, including their 14 year old nephew, were mistaken as Jews and killed when they arrived at a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas in 2014. They happened to be there because it was a "community" center for all people. The family devastated, Yvette's own children couldn't understand why Nazis were still so powerful, because their Mom had already become completely involved in her grandmother's story. Her Greek grandma, who had immigrated to New York where her husband had been living and working since the 1930s, only wanted to maintain the traditions and good food of her little, remote island. But she also had told stories about hiding a Jewish father and his 3 daughters from the Nazi invaders in 1944. Slowly, as an adult with a career in media and many contacts, Yvette worked to confirm those stories and find out what had happened to those few lucky survivors sheltered on this remote island 7 miles off Corfu. The people of Erikousa helped these desperate refugees when so few survived the destruction of the Jewish Quarter of Corfu. Genealogy, luck, self doubt, and belief in people of good will doing good and spreading good all bring about a remarkable reunion and celebration. A good read to go with today's news headlines, just 2 days after the Tree of Life murders.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Although I’ve had a signed copy for a while now, I couldn’t seem to find to find the right time to read Something Beautiful Happened until this week. Be prepared with lots of tissues because you will cry. Yvette’s continuation of her grandmother’s story is a testament to what can be accomplished when someone sets their mind to it. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I usually stick to fiction. I hope to reread it one day - hopefully in Erikousa!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tina Manatos

    This is an amazing story that can teach anyone beautiful lessons of life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    An unusual look at the Holocaust as it unfolded on a tiny Greek island. Kudos to the author for relating, in such an articulate way, the history of her family.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jahangir

    A well written memoir detailing the losses and triumphs against Nazism during WWII and the devastating effects of Neo- Nazism in contemporary US.

  20. 5 out of 5

    DiAnne Warfield

    Holt-Delhi Nonfiction Book Discussion Group title October 2020.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Koskinen

    A book of tremendous bravery by a village of people. Then fast forward to a terrible tragedy occurring to the same family from the same evil class of people. A family reunion and a family’s love shows love wins.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ariana

    For the life of me, I do not understand the negative reviews. I guess if you go into it thinking it's all about the Holocaust, you will be surprised. But don't be disappointed. There are many interesting and amazing stories woven together in this book. I really enjoyed it. For the life of me, I do not understand the negative reviews. I guess if you go into it thinking it's all about the Holocaust, you will be surprised. But don't be disappointed. There are many interesting and amazing stories woven together in this book. I really enjoyed it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Troja

    **I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** Introduction Yvette Manessis Corporan immediately strikes the reader as being the type of person who is well-connected, well-educated, and well-spoken, all while remaining humble and welcoming. Her life is fascinating in many aspects, and yet in another way it's another beautiful example of the typical American story - descended from hard-working immigrants who are proud of their culture and yet thankful fo **I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** Introduction Yvette Manessis Corporan immediately strikes the reader as being the type of person who is well-connected, well-educated, and well-spoken, all while remaining humble and welcoming. Her life is fascinating in many aspects, and yet in another way it's another beautiful example of the typical American story - descended from hard-working immigrants who are proud of their culture and yet thankful for the opportunities afforded them in the United States. As she sought to tell her family's version of this tale, she stumbled across so many wonderful details and life lessons. In very easily read, almost conversational (dare I say it felt like an interview?) prose, Corporan weaves a tale that when viewed from afar would resemble the beautiful intricately woven clothing of the Greek people of Erikousa. The story Yvette Manessis Corporan becomes obsessed with uncovering the details of a story told to her by her grandmother. It's a story of courage, loyalty, and friendship across dangerous and age-old cultural divides. Yvette's grandmother had been one of many villagers who daringly helped to conceal a Jewish family amidst their largely Christian (Greek Orthodox) community during WWII. There were knocks at the door almost every night, but they never knew who would be on the other side - Nazi soldiers out for blood, or the poor Jewish family they had befriended coming to teach sewing lessons while the children slept peacefully. As Corporan dug deeper, she found family members of the survivors and was able to orchestrate an elaborate but beautiful reunion between the Jewish descendants and the Greek islanders. Even as Corporan worked tirelessly on this reunion, her own extended family were brutally attacked, gunned down by a modern-day would-be Nazi who mistakenly thought they were Jewish. The stories flash back and forth as Corporan seeks to reconcile the two scenarios. This book is a beautiful journey through shared memories, beautiful cultures, and moving introspection. Literary analysis This book is very well-written. It does bounce around a bit, and there are times where the author switches names back and forth as well. As long as you can keep up and not get distracted (I had no problems), this novel is a pleasure to read. I found no grammatical errors in this first reading. Conclusion I recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy books on personal journeys (such as "Eat, Pray, Love") or historical reflection (such as books about Holocaust survivors).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Yvette Corporon works in the news in New York, but several years ago wrote a fiction book based loosely on her grandmothers experiences on a small Greek island during the second world war. 70 years ago her Yia-yia and family sheltered a local Jewish tailor and his daughters, risking their own lives as the Germans had promised to kill any locals found harboring Jews. Yet the whole island kept the secret and helped to protect the family. So she decides to find out the truth about the story, and to Yvette Corporon works in the news in New York, but several years ago wrote a fiction book based loosely on her grandmothers experiences on a small Greek island during the second world war. 70 years ago her Yia-yia and family sheltered a local Jewish tailor and his daughters, risking their own lives as the Germans had promised to kill any locals found harboring Jews. Yet the whole island kept the secret and helped to protect the family. So she decides to find out the truth about the story, and to see if any of the family are still alive. As her search widens she starts to find out what really happened and learns more about the fates of the Jewish tailor and his girls. While all of this is happening, her own family suffer their own tragedy - testing their faith and beliefs making this story all the more real and relevant.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book tells the story of the author's grandmother, who helped to save a Jewish family from the Nazi's on the island of Erikousa, Greece. After hearing this tale, various times in her life, the author decides to see if she can track down the relatives of the family that were able to escape. As this is happening in the present, other relatives of the author are shot by a white supremacist. The author goes back and forth bet I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book tells the story of the author's grandmother, who helped to save a Jewish family from the Nazi's on the island of Erikousa, Greece. After hearing this tale, various times in her life, the author decides to see if she can track down the relatives of the family that were able to escape. As this is happening in the present, other relatives of the author are shot by a white supremacist. The author goes back and forth between the stories of all of the people involved with the book. I found this book a little difficult to read because it jumped around so much from person to person. I love books that are written from different perspectives or where all the characters meet together somewhere later in the book, but I just struggled with this one. With that being said, I thought the story itself was important and I enjoyed many of the messages in the book. In so many cases, tragedies are remembered by who committed a crime rather than survivors or people who did the right thing. I enjoyed "getting to know" the family of the author and her kinship with the relatives of the Jewish family that her family helped protect. It is a good reminder that even if evil always exists, people can bond together in love and do good in the world.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    This haunting story of beauty in the face of hatred and strength in the face of evil is a true gem. It was all the more meaningful to me, as I lived in the Kansas City area and remember vividly the shootings of two innocents by a crazed neo-Nazi. A gem for genealogists who sometimes wonder if they'll ever find their answers. I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Howard Books. pub date 09/12/17 This haunting story of beauty in the face of hatred and strength in the face of evil is a true gem. It was all the more meaningful to me, as I lived in the Kansas City area and remember vividly the shootings of two innocents by a crazed neo-Nazi. A gem for genealogists who sometimes wonder if they'll ever find their answers. I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Howard Books. pub date 09/12/17

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elysia

    ⁣ "Despite the risk, despite the danger, and despite the fact that they were told that anyone found helping Jews would be killed along with their entire families, not one person on our Greek island gave up the secret of Savvas. Not one. Savvas and his girls were saved and all survived."⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother tell her stories about how the people on the the Greek Island of Erikousa hid a Jewish family - Savvas and his daughters- during WWII. ⁣ ⁣ Decades lat ⁣ "Despite the risk, despite the danger, and despite the fact that they were told that anyone found helping Jews would be killed along with their entire families, not one person on our Greek island gave up the secret of Savvas. Not one. Savvas and his girls were saved and all survived."⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother tell her stories about how the people on the the Greek Island of Erikousa hid a Jewish family - Savvas and his daughters- during WWII. ⁣ ⁣ Decades later, she began her search to find out what happened to Savvas and his family after the war. Eventually, with the help of MyHeritage, Yvette would find the answers she was looking for. She would even reunite with the descendants of this family. ⁣ ⁣ While, Yvette was searching for Savvas' and his family a horrible tragedy happened to her cousin, Mindy. A Neo-Nazi shot and killed Mindy's father and son. Yet even in the midst of this horrible pain, beautiful things happened. ⁣ ⁣ I really enjoyed both the story of Savvas and how Yvette was able to find the descendants and reunite with them. I also enjoyed the story of Mindy and how she was able to turn the tragedy of loosing her son and father into something beautiful. However, I feel like this would have been a better read if it was broken down into two books, instead of one. Having Mindy's story in the middle seemed to interrupt the flow of her telling the story of Savvas. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Kayden

    3.5 stars. What an incredible story - at times it was heartbreaking and at times it made you rejoice for humanity. Yvette Corporan was told a story by her grandmother - a story of Greeks on a small island hiding 5 Jews from the Nazis and protecting them during Nazi occupation of the island. This story stuck with her but after her grandmother passes away, Yvette wants to know more and starts to research the story. After months of meticulous research and many dead ends, she starts to piece togethe 3.5 stars. What an incredible story - at times it was heartbreaking and at times it made you rejoice for humanity. Yvette Corporan was told a story by her grandmother - a story of Greeks on a small island hiding 5 Jews from the Nazis and protecting them during Nazi occupation of the island. This story stuck with her but after her grandmother passes away, Yvette wants to know more and starts to research the story. After months of meticulous research and many dead ends, she starts to piece together the story and finds surviving family members of the Jewish family. However, during this time, two members of her own family are murdered by a Neo-Nazi at a Jewish community center, despite being devout Christians. Yvette has to reconcile how to deal with that tragedy while trying to reunite the families of the Greek survivors and the families that saved them. I thought this book was really good. It was inspiring to read stories of such bravery during WWII, how people risked their own lives and safety to do what was right. The author's research and determination were astounding, when she reached one dead end, she just kept looking (with some help from genealogists) and is able to bring together such a beautiful of survivors. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of the book in exchange for a review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    When I picked up this book I had no idea of this part of WWII and the suffering of the Greek Jews. This story is about courage of the Greek people during WWII who helped saved a Jewish family from being slaughtered by the Nazis. The entire island of Erikousa kept the secret of the Jewish family they were hiding in spite of the threat from the Nazis . The book has 2 running narratives It describes a heroic island community that saved a Jewish family in Greece during World War II. And intertwines t When I picked up this book I had no idea of this part of WWII and the suffering of the Greek Jews. This story is about courage of the Greek people during WWII who helped saved a Jewish family from being slaughtered by the Nazis. The entire island of Erikousa kept the secret of the Jewish family they were hiding in spite of the threat from the Nazis . The book has 2 running narratives It describes a heroic island community that saved a Jewish family in Greece during World War II. And intertwines that story with family members who were killed by a Anti- Semitic gunman at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, KS. It’s part deceive story, as the author searches for the Jewish family and descendants and the evolution of the My Heritage company and how they were such a part of bringing the story full circle. It’s beautiful, tear jerking, courageous, heartbreaking, uplifting, breath taking. I am so very glad I read it! This quote from the book really resonated with me: "My feeling is that we should be teaching the next generation not the names of the perpetrators, may they rot in hell, but to emulate those who had the moral courage to make a difference." I highly recommend this book! I can easily say it is one of the best books I have read in 2018!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    Something Beautiful Happened A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil by Yvette Manessis Corporon Howard Books Biographies & Memoirs Pub Date 12 Sep 2017 I am reviewing a copy of Something Beautiful Happened through Howard Books and Netgalley: Seven decades after her Grandmother helped hide a Jewish Family on a Greek island during the Second World War a woman sets out to track their descendants. 1,795 Jewish peoplecweee transported to Corfu and of those only 121 survived. In October of 1944 Something Beautiful Happened A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil by Yvette Manessis Corporon Howard Books Biographies & Memoirs Pub Date 12 Sep 2017 I am reviewing a copy of Something Beautiful Happened through Howard Books and Netgalley: Seven decades after her Grandmother helped hide a Jewish Family on a Greek island during the Second World War a woman sets out to track their descendants. 1,795 Jewish peoplecweee transported to Corfu and of those only 121 survived. In October of 1944 British Soldiers arrived and freed the Island of German Occupation. But even the end of the Jewishoccupation did not mean it was safe for the Jews returning home. The once vibrant community was reduced to ash. Yvette and her family wrestled with the tragedy in their own eyes, the stories of Holocaust survivors helped them to make sense of the present. This book brings the past and present together in interweaving storylines. It reminds us of the power of Faith, the importance of kindness, and the courage and the courage to stand up for what’s right in the face of evil. I give Something Beautiful Happenened five out of five stars. Happy Reading

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