The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth
Book Review + Blog Tour Giveaway (US only)

book cover image
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction


In Crete during World War II, Alenka, a young woman who fights with the resistance against the brutal Nazi occupation, finds herself caught between her traitor of a brother and the man she loves, an undercover agent working for the Allies.

May 1941. German paratroopers launch a blitzkrieg from the air against Crete. They are met with fierce defiance, the Greeks fighting back with daggers, pitchforks, and kitchen knives. During the bloody eleven-day battle, Alenka, a young Greek woman, saves the lives of two Australian soldiers.

Jack and Teddy are childhood friends who joined up together to see the world. Both men fall in love with Alenka. They are forced to retreat with the tattered remains of the Allied forces over the towering White Mountains. Both are among the seven thousand Allied soldiers left behind in the desperate evacuation from Crete's storm-lashed southern coast. Alenka hides Jack and Teddy at great risk to herself. Her brother Axel is a Nazi sympathiser and collaborator and spies on her movements.

As Crete suffers under the Nazi jackboot, Alenka is drawn into an intense triangle of conflicting emotions with Jack and Teddy. Their friendship suffers under the strain of months of hiding and their rivalry for her love. Together, they join the resistance and fight to free the island, but all three will find themselves tested to their limits. Alenka must choose whom to trust and whom to love and, in the end, whom to save.

My Thoughts

Known for weaving fairy tales into her World War II stories, in The Crimson Thread Kate Forsyth brings to her readers another incredible story combining the Battle of Crete and the Greek mythological tale of Ariadne, a Cretan princess, and the Minotaur.

Jack and Teddy, two Australian soldiers and best friends since they were boys, are on Crete when the Nazis launch their airborne invasion. Unable to be rescued and rather than surrender, they opt to take to the hills and continue the fight with the Cretan Resistance.

Teddy is the typical Australian larrikin. He likes to drink, gamble and chase women. The woman he has his eye on, Alenka, although friendly towards him, is very protective of her reputation and resists his advances. Teddy takes this as a challenge and lets it be known, especially to Jack who he suspects is harbouring feelings for her himself, that Alenka is his girl. However, when Teddy and Jack are separated, Jack and Alenka get to know one another better through a shared love of literature and music.

Jack and Teddy are opposites, with the more confident and adventurous Teddy usually the leader in their escapades. Jack is known for his quietness, the result of a stutter brought on by abuse he received as a child. He loves music, writing poetry and reading and is enthralled by the stories told to Alenka by her grandmother that she now shares with him. Jack is also interested in the customs and traditions of life in the small Cretan village and gains acceptance by his respect, willingness to help and his music.

Over the course of the story, we see how Teddy's feelings for Alenka become an obsession, eventually showing a darker side to his personality. He also becomes jealous of Jack's achievements. Jack's knowledge and skills that Teddy had deprecated in the past have become valuable assets.

Aside from the love triangle and the strain it puts on Jack and Teddy's friendship, the fear and hardship living under German occupation, especially with a known vengeful collaborator in their midst who will stop at nothing to ingratiate himself with the Nazis, infuses the story with even more tension. Hiding Allied soldiers and continuing to resist the Nazis brings more danger into the villagers' already perilous lives.

While Jack and Teddy are fictional characters, some of the soldiers that appear in the story were actual historical figures, including Reg Saunders, who is a corporal in this story but went on to become the first Aboriginal to be commissioned as an Army officer. Another interesting inclusion is Operation Mincemeat that not only deceived the Nazis into thinking an invasion of Greece was imminent but also raised the hopes of the Cretan people.

This is the first novel that I've read by Kate Forsyth. I was completely enthralled by how she wove Greek mythology into the invasion and occupation of Crete, a theatre of war I knew little about and how she created characters that I came to care for and hoped, despite the devastating setbacks, would find happiness together. I will certainly be reading more of Kate Forsyth's novels.

Where to Purchase

Amazon | Audible | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound 

Meet the Author

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Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling author of 40 books for both adults and children.

Her books for adults include 'Beauty in Thorns', the true love story behind a famous painting of 'Sleeping Beauty'; 'The Beast's Garden', a retelling of the Grimm version of 'Beauty & the Beast', set in the German underground resistance to Hitler in WWII; 'The Wild Girl', the love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales; 'Bitter Greens', a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale; and the bestselling fantasy series 'Witches of Eileanan' Her books for children include 'The Impossible Quest', 'The Gypsy Crown', 'The Puzzle Ring', and 'The Starkin Crown'

Kate has a doctorate in fairytale studies, a Masters of Creative Writing, a Bachelor of Arts in Literature, and is an accredited master storyteller.

Connect with Kate: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28
Excerpt at Novels Alive

Wednesday, June 29
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, June 30
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, July 1
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Monday, July 4
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss

Tuesday, July 5
Review at My Reading Getaway

Wednesday, July 6
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Thursday, July 7
Review at Girls Just Reading

Friday, July 8
Review at Dive Into a Good Book

Sunday, July 10
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, July 11
Review at Jessica Belmont

Tuesday, July 12
Excerpt at Bonnie Reads and Writes

Wednesday, July 13
Review at The Page Ladies

Thursday, July 14
Review at Momma Doc Reads

Monday, July 18
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, July 19
Interview at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, July 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 21
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, July 22
Excerpt at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, July 23
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, July 25
Review at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, July 26
Review at With a Book in Our Hands

Wednesday, July 27
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Thursday, July 28
Review at Bibliotica

Friday, July 29
Review at Reading the Past

Giveaway (US only)

Enter HERE to win a copy of The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth! We have 10 copies up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


  1. I like the idea of weaving fairy tales into a historical fiction novel. While I have tired of all the WWII novels, the Crete setting has me interested. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

  2. Kate Forsyth is a fantastic author. My favourite book of hers is Bitter Greens. It was also the first book I read by her!

    Thanks for sharing this with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

    1. I'm not sure which of her books I'll read next. I'll check out Bitter Greens.