Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Clover House

We are excited to welcome author, Henriette Lazaridis Power, to the nest today. Be sure to check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What inspired you to write this novel? 

Henriette: I am a first-generation Greek-American and grew up spending all my summers in Greece visiting family. The stories around the dinner table or in the garden or on the beach were almost all stories of the Second World War, or the Civil War that raged through Greece in the years immediately after. It was impossible for me not to have heard all those stories without a tremendous appreciation for the magnitude of my family’s experience. I felt I somehow had to take this period in history as my starting point for a novel. But I soon realized that what I really wanted to write about was the difficulty of making sense of the past, and the fact that much of the truth in anyone’s history remains elusive. So I centered the narrative on the character of Callie, a contemporary Greek-American trying to piece together the mysteries in her mother’s past. Fortunately, neither of my parents were directly harmed by the war, so I ended up inventing the tragedies that have befallen Callie’s family. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: I am fascinated by WWII. Why did you choose this time period as part of your setting? 

Henriette: It comes back to all those family stories, even if they aren’t directly incorporated into the novel. For instance, there’s the story of how my grandmother was standing at the kitchen sink in Athens when a bomb exploded outside, sending shrapnel past her head. I have the piece on my bookshelf, etched by my father with the date of the event. Or the story of how my mother tossed loaves of bread over the fence where the Germans had imprisoned the Italians soldiers after they took over the occupation of Patras. To me, these stories are reminders that we are only one generation removed from a war that devastated much of the world and that placed so many people in danger--people just trying to live their lives. I’m especially interested in what took place in Greece and in the Balkans, not only because of my family, but also because that area was one of the focal points of the war’s key political forces--forces that remain in play even today. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What do you hope readers will take away from this novel? 

Henriette: I hope the book leaves readers with questions about the challenges of forgiveness and atonement, and leaves them thinking about the ways in which the past--though elusive--shapes our lives in the present, even over generations. In more specific terms, I hope people learn something new about Greece’s experience during the Second World War, as well as about this wonderful tradition of Carnival in Greece. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: I love the cover! Does it fit the novel well? 

Henriette: I’m glad you like it! I do too. The cover is first and foremost, in my opinion, an arresting image that makes you want to pick the book up. I think it conveys a sense of something from another time, something foreign perhaps, and suggests, too, the collecting of keepsakes--all of which are important aspects of the book. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What was your most recent read? 

Henriette: Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz. The writing is masterful. She makes the first-person voice rich and alive in this highly original story of infidelity. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: It's a Reading Lark tradition so I have to ask, what is your favorite bird? 

Henriette: Without question, my favorite bird is the mallard. As a rower, I’m used to seeing ducks on the Charles River and I love that they spend their lives in an environment that, to me, seems far cozier than what most birds have to deal with. Give me a protected body of water over the vast sky any day  In the spring, we rowers often see the chicks following their parents in long lines, and I've been known to stop in the middle of a workout to admire them.

About the Novel

For fans of Victoria Hislop's The Island and Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key, a powerful debut novel about a woman shuttling between America and Greece to solve the mystery surrounding her family's past and claim an identity of her own.

A phone call from her cousin sends Calliope Notaris Brown from Boston to the Greek city of Patras to sort through an inheritance from her uncle. She arrives during the wild abandon of Carnival, when the world is turned upside down and things are not as they seem. Digging through the keepsakes her uncle has left, Callie stumbles upon clues to the wartime disappearance of the family's fortune and to the mystery of her estranged mother's chronic unhappiness. As she pieces together family secrets that stretch back to the Italian occupation of Greece during World War II, Callie's relationship with her fiancé, her mother, and her mother's two sisters will change irrevocably.

We have one copy of The Clover House up for grabs. Thank you, Goldberg McDuffie Communications, for providing the book for the giveaway. The giveaway is open to US & CA residents only. In order to win you must:

* Be 18+ years old
* Fill out the Rafflecopter below

The giveaway runs from April 2-9. The winner will be contacted via email on April 10.


  1. I really enjoy stories set in WWII. I'm even more interested when it has an interesting setting which I consider Greece to be. I rarely read books set so this is doubly interesting for me.

  2. I love reading WWI and WWII historical fiction. Also I have some Greek Amercian cousins so I would like to get a better understanding of the Greek culture.



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