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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Stealing Freedom by Sylvia Leontaritis is filled with history, romance, and adventure. The story takes place during the buildup to World War II on the Greek island of Kalymnos, which was under an Italian occupying force. Popi, a sixteen-year-old girl, loves her Greek island world and is determined to save it from the Italians. She joins the resistance, along with a few of her girlfriends, and provides information to the leaders in a unique way. Her life becomes more complicated when she is helped by an Italian soldier and begins to fall in love with him. As the conflict intensifies between the islanders and the soldiers, where will Popi's loyalties lie?
I was totally immersed in Sylvia Leontaritis's book Stealing Freedom. Leontaritis's descriptions of the beautiful Greek island and culture swept me away to a different place and time. Popi is a strong female character who cherishes her culture's traditions but is not afraid to push the boundaries as a young woman with a passion. I loved so many things about this book; the unique way that messages were passed, the realization that people are often more complicated than we think, and the importance of cherishing the old but embracing the new. Popi and her brother Kosta come of age in a dangerous and challenging time. Leontaritis tells their story authentically with all the range of emotions that entails. She captures the overwhelming feeling that first love brings as well. Stealing Freedom is an outstanding historical fiction novel that will have readers eagerly turning the pages.