||October 19, 2007
This love story takes place on the Greek Island of Kos, where Hippocrates, the father of healing, lived and worked there.
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The Lion and the Nurse" is a story that takes place on the beautiful Greek island of Kos, where Hippocrates, the famous physician, was known to teach and heal people. This romance is about a nurse who returns to the island to help her ailing mother and finds love in the process. Her healing powers are able to save others, but not herself. When she experiences her own mortality, she witnesses the breathtaking power of love.
Cassiani stepped out on to the sunlit balcony carrying a bucket of dirty soap water in one hand and a wet mop in the other. Her mind was miles away at the University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked the past five months as a registered nurse. Today she would have been taking blood pressure readings at seven o’clock in the morning or popping thermometers into patients’ mouths. Or she would have been reading charts and administering medications. Instead, she was here on the Greek Island of Kos, mopping Mrs. Lukas’ upstairs apartment.
A week ago, when she and her sister received the telephone call from the doctor at Kos Hospital telling them that her mother experienced a heart attack, it had come as a shock. Athena couldn’t come because she was pregnant with her second child, so it was decided that Cassiani would come. Cassiani rushed to get here, dropping everything she was doing with no other thought but to nurse her mother. When she arrived three days ago, little did she know that today she’d be cleaning and mopping Mrs. Lukas’ house.
Cassiani lifted the bucket and poured the soapy water over the side of the balcony, watching the water disappear down the slope of the lime-green hill below. Further observation revealed flecks of color among the hill; clusters of white cyclamen, bunches of daisies, and bright red poppies that swayed with each caress of the wind. She took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh mountain air.
“This would be a good place to rest,” she said aloud. Two wooden chairs and a small square table sat on the balcony. She sank into one chair, plopping her slender legs up on the other chair, enjoying the sun-drenched panoramic view of Kos Island below. She could see far on this clear day; the whitewashed houses scattered here and there, the sandy beach of Tigaki with its salt lake, and in the horizon, the small island of Pserimos.
Her gaze settled to her left, beyond the row of Cypress trees that marked the property’s boundary, on the winding road leading to the house. She remembered the walk she had with her mother years ago down that very same road. It was dusty and half the width; suited more for pedestrians and donkeys than for cars. This morning her mother said, “You’ll find the road paved now, so don’t miss the way. It was done two years ago when Mrs. Lukas bought a new Mercedes.”
Cassiani glimpsed the dark shade of a lonely automobile driving up the road, but lost track of it just as quickly; probably her imagination at work. Mrs. Lukas was napping downstairs and wasn’t expecting anyone. She yawned, rubbing her eyes, enjoying the feel of the warm sun on her face. Her eyes fluttered shut as she fell into a light sleep.
Cassiani jumped up from her chair, knocking it over, her heart beating wildly. She anxiously peered through the balcony’s glass door into the darkness of the apartment. Could it be that Mrs. Lukas had walked up the stairs looking for her and had slipped on the newly mopped floor? Then she caught sight of the man. His movements were slow and cautious, as if he had sensed another presence…her presence. “A burglar,” she whispered. She quickly made the sign of the cross. “Dear Lord, have mercy on me.”
He was lean and dressed in dark clothes, and was heading purposefully towards her.
Michael Bilirakis Review
“Patty Apostolides’ novel, which takes place on a “typical” Greek Island, Kos, is truly a proper follow-up to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” although it comes from a different direction – Americans experiencing the Greek culture in Greece.” - Michael Bilirakis, former Congressman
Nikos Kokonis Review
“What impressionism achieved on the canvass, Patty Apostolides seems to accomplish on the printed page – and her psychological insights are remarkable. A stunning achievement!” – Nicholas D. Kokonis, Ph.D., Author of the award-winning novel Arcadia, My Arcadia
Aphrodite Matsakis Review
“Patty Apostolides has done it again! Just as in Lipsi’s Daughter, The Lion and the Nurse captures the beauty and charm of a Greek island in a love story that is more than a love story. This romance about Cassiani, a nurse who returns to Kos to help her ailing mother, is also about the triumph of eternal values, such as truth and caring, over materialism and deception. It is also about the loneliness and the struggles of two widows and about how love transcends all planes, even in modern times. This book is a real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down!” - Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D., Author of Growing Up Greek in St. Louis
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