As World War II intrudes upon their home, three young friends in Greece risk everything for freedom, love and a chance at a better life.
This is the core story of “Once We Were Here,” a newly released historical romance novel which highlights a piece of often forgotten yet important history: How Greece helped to win the Second World War.
The novel begins with the events of October 28, 1940, when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas an ultimatum: Allow Axis forces to occupy their country, or face war.
Greece’s response? A firm “Oxi” or “No.”
In a small village nestled against the radiant waters of the Aegean Sea, we find Alexei, the son of a local fisherman, and his best friend Costa, who were both born on the same night 18 years earlier and have been like brothers ever since.
But now, like all young men in their village and throughout Greece, Alexei and Costa will leave their homes to bravely fight for their country.
Before departing, Alexei asks Philia, the girl that he’s loved his entire life, to marry him, which sets into motion the events which will change the lives of these three and their family and friends forever. Thus begins an epic and unforgettable story of courage, survival, sacrifice, the strength of the human spirit and of a love and friendship that will echo across time and generations.
The mind behind the novel is none other than Michigan native and University of Michigan alumnus Christopher Cosmos, an author and screenwriter whose work has featured in the annual Black List of best Hollywood screenplays.
“I wrote this novel based on an amalgamation of stories that I heard growing up and going to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as from other Greek family and friends, too,” Cosmos told The Pappas Post. “I wound it all together into this single narrative that illuminates this pivotal part of WWII that is too-often-forgotten, and shows the sacrifice that Greece made in order to save the world.”
Cosmos said his latest work also pays tribute to those who fought for freedom, and for each other.
“I think this is the legacy that we still carry as Greek-Americans and pass on and down and that we all carry with us,” he said.
Visit his personal website for more information.
“Once We Were Here” is available for purchase on bookshop.org and amazon.com.
Book reviews for “Once We Were Here”
“’Once We Were Here’ is a modern epic, surging with the lifeblood of Greece and her proud history. Beautiful, tragic, and achingly lovely, this story of heroism, survival, and homeland captured my heart.”
— Victoria Aveyard, #1 bestselling author of the “Red Queen” series
“This stirring debut by Christopher Cosmos examines the enduring costs of love and war, and the way family stories—even buried ones—set the course for generations to come. Cosmos is deeply committed not only to his characters and their harrowing experiences, but also to sharing, with insight and empathy, Greece’s powerful and often heartbreaking history.”
— Paula McLain, author of “The Paris Wife” and “Love and Ruin”
“Winston Churchill said that Greeks don’t fight like heroes, but heroes fight like Greeks, and this story proves it; a stunning literary debut about legacy and history, war and peace, fate and destiny, the power of family and stories, and how young love can still shine and endure, even in the face of the greatest evils, and long after we’re gone.”
— Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of “Gates of Fire” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance”
“Christopher Cosmos gives the reader a front-row seat to six pivotal months in the history of Greece, and the world. Full of both heroics and disasters, Once We Were Here shines a vivid light on the human costs of war, and how we inherit family legacies of love, sacrifice, and secrets.”
— Caitlin Horrocks, author of “The Vexations”
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