Follow Here To Purchase The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay

Author:Andrea Gillies
Publisher:Other Press
ISBN: 978-1-59051-729-1

In The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay, the main characters are few: forty-something-year-old book editor Nina Findlay who has recently experienced a slight emotional breakdown and is in Greece trying to find herself; next-door-neighbours-since-childhood Paulo and Luca Romano who are in a toxic relationship with Nina; Dr.  Christos, the kind, compassionate,  handsome, English-speaking Greek doctor with excellent listening skills; and Nurse Yannis.

The setting is historical and beautiful: a Greek island.  The plot is simple: Nina grows up next door to Paulo and his younger brother Luca and a love triangle emerges.  Luca marries Francesca.  Nina marries Paulo.  Twenty-five years later, the marriage sours, Nina's support system crumbles, she is estranged from Luca, and returns to the same Greek island where she and Paulo spent their honeymoon.  On the brink of divorce from Paulo, his family and her former self, Nina wants to heal and start her life anew.  But shortly after arrives, she is hit by a bus, taken to a hospital in a small hospital, and in a ‘flashback’ style of writing, the author begins to tell the story of Nina's life through Nina's words to her bored, underworked and lonely physician, Dr. Christos.

In a conversation with Dr. Christos, Nina says that "in the past and in the future, going from one to the other and back, I use the past to speculate forward.  I'm barely in the present at all," thereby bringing attention to her self-analytical and self-absorbed-to-the-point-of-distraction self which brings  about her own unhappiness, clearly illustrated by her admission that “there were other people I pushed away who stayed away, people who proved to be easily deterred. Close friends, people I'd always thought were close friends. I told myself I was happier not having to deal with people, but I wasn't happier."

Not surprisingly, the lengthy and daily conversations with Dr. Christos lead Nina to the fantasy of having an affair with him.  She begins to envision her life continuing on the island with Dr. Christos - and then Paolo re-enters the scene.  

“The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay” is a story about choice, love, regret, relationship possibilities and new beginnings.  It has its twists, surprises and an ending where Nurse Yannis plays an important and surprising role in Nina’s “enlightenment.” 

Is the story plausible?  Are the characters believable? Is the “flashback” style of writing effective?  Readers will have to come to their own opinion. Spoiler alert: not for this reviewer.

Warmly recommended with caution.