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Publisher's Summary

In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family. 

The story continues in the 1970's as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she'd hoped for. 

Evanthia's Gift is a multigenerational love story spanning 50 years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.

©2015 Effie Kammenou (P)2017 Effie Kammenou

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Book

loved this book so much i got book #2. the details of places like Santorini Island.

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Fantastic!!!

I was pulled into this book from the very beginning. I love a romance story that lasts decades. This book by Effie Kammenou is a gem with multiple facets. There is so much to this story. I loved the heritage, the customs, the imagery, the generations, the characters, and the narration. Emily Lawrence did an awesome performance. I loved how she was able to perform distinguished voices for the various characters and have them fit the book. I will definitely listen to the next book in the series and look for more by both this author and narrator. The added Love is ... from Corinthians fit this book perfectly with its theme.

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~A Book for Everyone~

Prepare yourself to be swept away by Evanthia's Gift: The Gift Saga, Book 1 written by Effie Kammemou, narrated by Emily Lawrence. I've never listened to an audiobook quite like this one. It is one of the best books I've ever listened to, and I have no doubt you will feel the same. Beautifully written and gracefully narrated, it is a story about life, love, friendship, and family that spans across generations. The character development is absolutley outstanding. I was so emotionally involved in the characters and events that I often stopped to reflect on my own life experiences, as the personal connection I felt was relatable and real. Complete with mouth-watering, authentic Greek recipes, my knowledge and understanding of Greek culture and traditions deepened with each chapter, further engaging me in this emotional journey of self-discovery. You, too, will easily see parts of yourself in each of the characters, and even if you are not of Greek heritage, like myself, the themes are universal and timeless, making Evanthia's Gift a story for everyone.

The narration by Emily Lawrence was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her. This is the longest book I've ever listened to, and her performance made the time fly by. Along with the consistent pronunciation, she really did an amazing job keeping with the voices and accents of each character, which made for easy listening, without any confusion. There was only 1 place in the entire 17+ hours that I heard a "mistake," if it could even be called that. I believe it was in the 1st half of the book as she was reading a recipe...she repeated the same word twice. Basically, it wasn't caught during editing. By NO means did this take away from my overall enjoyment of the piece. I definitely plan to listen to Book 2 in The Gift Saga by Effie Kammenou, and I am thrilled to see that Emily Lawrence is listed as narrator. :-)

Evanthia's Gift, from the joyous celebrations to the heartbreaking struggles, is a story about all of us at each stage of our journey through life, as we search for truth, purpose, happiness, and love. Its about learning and growing together, while finding strength we didn't know existed and helping others find the same. It's about believing, accepting, and trusting in ourselves and others so that we are able to overcome the harships, celebrate the joys, and love unconditionally. This is my first time hearing an audiobook by both Author Effie Kammemou and Narrator Emily Lawrence, and I'm so happy to have found The Gift Saga. I highly recommend it, and, without hesitation, I give it a very deserving 5/5 stars across the board. It set me on my own journey of self-discovery, while reminding me what, and who, is truly important in life. This is a book that will stay with you long after the last page. I cannot wait to continue the journey in Book 2. I'm excited to see what the future holds!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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Generations collided over time, beliefs, culture

Absolutely beautiful read. Emotional filled read that took me on a journey through generations. The romance felt true and captivating. Anastacia Fotopoulos was the start of this journey through the times. I have so many things to explain about this book that I will needed to do a more in depth review.

Narrator Emily Lawrence gave some spark and life to the telling of this tale that span time. The audio was clear and smooth.

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A Wonderful narration and story!

 Evanthia's Gift written by Effie Kammenou is an interesting novel based on its structure alone. The storyline begins in Greece in the year 1955 with a pregnant mother by the name of Anastacia. The book opens with betrayal and as Anastacia endures the troubles of her situation with the lasting effects of WW2, she finds she needs to make important decisions for both herself and her daughter (Sophia). Anastacia develops beautiful and engaging relationships and love interests that are excitingly passionate and at times heartbreaking. 

This is currently Effie Kammenous only audiobook available at audible.com

This audiobook enters a second part which feels almost like the start of a new book all together. It jumps a generation and follows Sophia and Dean, a love interest since of Sophia since age of 12, as Greek- American teenagers. 

The characters battle romantically and culturally as a storyline unfolds that spans 50 years and two continents. 

The book is narrated by Emily Lawrence who is an accomplished narrator. She sounds comfortable behind the mic and has a dynamic range of narration tone and character accents that are especially enjoyable to the ear. Emily Lawrence currently has 35 audiobook narrations available at audible.com. The audio, simply put, is top quality. The storyline flows smoothly and effortlessly and the characters are easily distinguishable. The background is free of any extraneous sounds that may distract from the listening experience.

This audiobook came in at a lengthy 17 hours and 22 minutes in the contemporary fiction genre. The audiobook inevitably had slower parts, but Emily's voice acting ability even makes a sluggish part mentally stimulating. 

This audiobook is almost 2 books for the price of 1 with the storyline and length. In the genre of contemporary fiction Audiobook Haven would conclude that this book is worth a listen!

Audio Quality: 10/10
Narration Performance 9/10
Storyline 7/10

Listen to Evanthia's Gift, Book one in the Gift Saga, written by Effie Kammenous - Narrated by Emily Lawrence


- read more amazing audiobook reviews at audiobookhaven.com

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Multigenerational Greek family saga

Any additional comments?

This was a lovely story of two close Greek families beginning in World War II. I had had no idea of the difficult Greek experience of the war. The story offered a look into the daily life with the wonderful family bonding and support through difficult times. It caused me to reflect on my own family. I really enjoyed learning about the Greek culture and food. There were even recipes included. The family story and romance was very satisfying. I look forward to the next book to see how the next generation turns out.

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Didn't like the second generation as much

I got hooked on this story very early! I enjoyed Anastacia and Alex’s story. They were two very interesting characters who have lived through a terrible time of WWII in Greece. They are telling the younger generation their struggles and their heartbreaks. It got me very emotionally invested. Their love was very beautiful and I was happy to hear about how they overcame such trials.

Then it moved onto Sophia, their daughter, and her love interest Dean. Sophia is just blah. She is whiny and totally dependent on Dean, who is a jerk waffle and doesn’t deserve her. I hated their relationship, I wanted to punch something every time Sophia cried over Dean and every time she accepted him back…..I don’t understand how it went from such a beautiful and touching story to something just angsty and annoying. This is my opinion, you may perhaps enjoy angsty books and girls who super pine after dudes that are not good enough for them. For that reason I give the story a 3.5/5.

The narration was beautiful! Lawrence has an amazing accent for the first generation characters and I am in love with it!!! I think she had a great tone and pacing throughout the story. Even if I was extremely mad at certain parts, I cannot fault her voice as it was steady and clear, and had great emotion throughout. Her audio I give 4.5/5 stars!

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So worth it!

Any additional comments?

I was hooked on this book from the very beginning. The narrator instantly brought the story to life. Which was very easy to do considering how well crafted this book was. The characters are vivid enough to picture each of them in my mind. Whether the reader has Greek heritage or not, everyone will be able to relate to the family drama. However, the author did a nice job of sharing about the Greek culture without sounding like a travel brochure or a lecture. At times, I found myself talking to the characters in my head even when I wasn’t listening to the book. In looking at the book, I think the different character voices made it a little easier to understand the multiple POVs. I really didn’t want this one to end.

The narration felt perfect for this story. The narrator did a good job a varying the voices enough to keep everyone separate.

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Multi-generational family saga for a long weekend

This book offers a true family saga that covers multiple generations. The narrator was able to add to the story and provide different personalities for all the characters. Her voice was smooth and warm, which fit the story perfectly. I enjoyed the intermingling of Greek culture with the story, as well as the inclusion of recipes. Even though this book was historical in context, I was able to relate to the feelings of the characters and enjoy the story. A pleasurable read for a long holiday weekend.

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A Greek family saga about choices...

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I've come to realize that family sagas are one of the most interesting types of books that I read this year. There is, of course, my favorite: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; too there was Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. As the year draws to a close, I was able to read/listen to Evanthia's Gift, a story of Greek immigrants and their family as they move back and forth between Greece and America and, finally, raise their children as Greek-Americans in a time when identity is something hard to pinpoint, particularly one that has dual countries contributing to who they are.

The book opens with betrayal, but even in that Anastacia, the first main character, finds some hope: her daughter, Sophia. As the story progresses there is still much doubt and pain. Anastacia struggles with what to tell Sophia about her father and, with her friends old and new, the lingering effects of World War II in their homeland, Greece.

The movement from her earliest feelings of betrayal to the slow effort of healing, delayed as it was by self-doubt and trouble from the past, was a tender experience for Anastacia and her readers. There were moments of beauty, such as when she is walking through her hometown and by the sea during her later honeymoon. There were almost moments of personal pain, such as recovering from a late-term miscarriage and hysterectomy. Anastacia was a strong character, even at rock bottom moments, and her and Alex were a wonderful couple to read about.

There were reminiscences throughout that were painful and saddening. Anastacia remembering rationing and the black market. Alex recalling trying to find a beloved merchant and searching the place he knew him most likely to be: boarding a train, guarded by Nazis. Not to compare the heartache to these previous examples, but even the love of the young, the desperation in the relationship between Sophia and Dean, was hard to bear because of their young age, the intensity of such feelings, and the knowledge that there is heartbreak in their past and probably their future as well.

I wasn't a fan when the story turned from Anastacia and Alex and their generation to that of their children because it felt like two separate stories that were only loosely connected. Sophia was a bit difficult to like half of the time because of her infatuation with Dean. Her determination was almost admirable in that she knew what she wanted and held on to that, but I think it hurt her in some ways because she was pinning so much hope and almost her entire future on this one guy when she was still so young. There's an entire future ahead of her, but from the age of twelve onward she's sure that she would go through anything, wait forever even, if only Dean could be hers.

Anastacia and Alex's relationship was much more emotionally rich than that of Sophia and Dean. When things go wrong between them, primarily Dean's fault through some lies with Sophia, much weight is loaded upon her. Her melancholy is exaggerated, too intense, and yet Dean puts the burden on her, refusing to accept responsibility for his part. A textbook teen romance, something of Lifetime movies, once Sophia and Dean started dating, their relationship and the dissolution of it, was a serious downswing in readability.

Sophia states at one point that she has grown as a dancer and as a person; while I might accept her dancing ability, her growth as a person is debatable because of her pining for Dean, her insistence that he will be the only man for her ever, despite their separation and the pain he's put her through by keeping their relationship a secret.

Dean continued to be a disgusting character that I disliked more and more as time went on. His possessiveness of Sophia, even years later, was creepy as hell, especially since he kept insisting he'd evolved and moved on with a woman named Elizabeth. Sophia wasn't much better, frustrating as she was clinging to Dean, to the past, almost as much as he was. The callbacks to Romeo & Juliet were cringe worthy in their accuracy.

The way the secondary female characters Irini (Anastacia's sister) and Elizabeth (Dean's wife) were treated as "developed" characters was disgusting. They were set up as shrewish if only to bolster the primary ladies in their generation. Loading them down in favor of other women felt extreme and a bit hostile. While Elizabeth admittedly had some traits, some snobbishness, that made her unlikable, I think I understood some of her aversion to Dean's family. Considering how they treated her, his parents because she wasn't Greek and his sister because she wasn't Sophia, I don't blame her for sticking to the people she knew and was comfortable with.

The second generation in this family saga was full of people that couldn't figure out their own minds and kept making bad decisions regarding personal relationships. The silent treatment doesn't work and as much as the reader is meant to like Sophia, I kept rolling my eyes at her childish behavior. From seventeen to the end of the book, she in particular felt immature; at 41, her voice, her presence in the book, doesn't feel like she's grown from where she started.

Emily Lawrence was a very good narrator. The quality of her voice made the epic story a pleasant experience and that's essential, particularly when the book was so long. Her accent for the first generation of the story was, as far as I could tell, accurate and it set them apart from their children, who know Greek but have grown up primarily in the United States and thus have more exposure to American sounding voices.

The beginning of this book was far superior to the later two-thirds and while I disliked Sophia, Dean, and others of that time period, Anastacia and Alex's story is worth the read. The interludes of Greek recipes and of excerpts from poems and philosophy texts, while not always making sense in context, were a nice way to break up the monotony of the drier moments. I would not count this among my favorite family sagas, but I think it might reach others that enjoy lighter novel atmospheres, wanting to branch out.



I received a copy of this book from the Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Em Jay Reads
  • 04-15-18

An engaging story with excellent narration

I really enjoyed listening to Evanthia’s Gift. Emily Lawrence does an excellent job narrating this story and I felt she brought extra depth and emotion to an already engaging story.

The story captured my attention on so many levels; it’s an absorbing family saga with great insight into traditions and the role tradition plays in decision making. I learned about some historical events that I was not previously aware of. And it was a trip down memory lane recalling the fashions and music of the 70s.

Some chapter ends feature Greek recipes. This was an unexpected treat but they’re somewhat superfluous to an audio book as the times I listen to audio books, I am not in a position to transcribe the recipes to paper.

Effie Kammenou’s writing is tight and the story is well plotted. I look forward to listening to more of her stories.