Chasing Petalouthes, the final book in the ‘The Gift Saga’ trilogy by Effie Kammenou, focuses on the younger generation as they come of age, face challenges, & more. Read our review.
Author Effie Kammenou
We’ve reviewed Books 1 & 2 of ‘The Gift Saga’ by Effie Kammenou, and now we round out the series with a review of Book 3. Readers will recall Effie is from New York, and traces her Greek roots to Mytilini, Kefalonia, and Athens. Effie loves to travel, cook, and bake. She chronicles her adventures in gastronomy on her blog, Cheffie’s Kitchen. She combines her experiences, her ethnic heritage, and more into her stories.
‘The Gift Saga’
Each book in ‘The Gift Saga’ was inspired by a different generation. Effie said that Book 1, Evanthia’s Gift, also her debut novel, was also inspired by grief.
“After my mother passed away, I began writing a story that honored her beautiful spirit, her era, and her heritage.”
“This current generation needs to decide what is truly important and real in this constantly changing environment.”
Effie revealed that today’s challenges played a prominent role in the final installment of the series.
“We live in interesting times. Social media reigns and dictates heroes and villains. News and trends are outdated every five minutes and I fear that tradition, history, and morality have all been deemed old-fashioned. Teenagers now look up to ‘influencers’ for fashion and lifestyle advice from young women famous for a sex tape leak or multiple surgical enhancements.”
Her daughters also inspired this story.
“I’ve watched my daughters grow into beautiful petalouthes (butterflies). Knowing how much my mother influenced their lives and, now, even six years after her passing, she is still responsible for much of who they have become.”
Related: REVIEW: Effie Kammenou’s Evanthia’s Gift
Writing Chasing Petalouthes
Book 3 took about a year-and-a-half to write, including extensive research. Effie traveled to Paris, then Èpernay and Reims, in the Champagne region, to learn about the famous bubbly drink.
“I wrote the chapters, but I wasn’t satisfied writing about a place I had only researched and had never been to. It was only then that I was able to see and write about this magical place through Evvie’s eyes.”
REVIEW: ‘Waiting for Aegina’ by Effie Kammenou
Completing the trilogy
Though the books can be read as standalones, it was always Effie’s intention to tie the stories together. This cohesion connects the characters and creates continuity.
“I wanted to show that one way or another we are always with our loved ones.”
Fans of the series have asked Effie not to end the series – they long for at least one more book. Though she loves the characters, she believes that three books are a good number for a series.
“I think a writer can kill a good story by not knowing when to end it.”
That said, Effie did hint that one or two of the characters from this series make cameo appearances in her next book.
About Chasing Petalouthes
In Chasing Petalouthes, we’re reunited with Sophia, Dean, and their extended family. The story follows the current generation as they’re coming of age, trying to determine who they are and their place in the world.
Evvie wants to become an oenologist, though her mom wants her to be a dancer. She leaves a prestigious dance program in Paris to spend time at a winery to learn the secrets of champagne. There, she falls for the charismatic son, whose betrayal causes her to give up on love. Later, she meets Ryan, a “safe” guy, and goes through the motions. Looking to escape for a bit, she takes a trip to Kefalonia to learn her grandmother’s past. Will reconnecting with the past help her discover her future?
Feeling insecure and uncertain of her future, Stella gets caught up with a much older man who sweeps her off her feet but isn’t what he portrays himself to be. When she gets in over her head, her friends try to get through to her. What will she do? Can she stand on her own feet? Will she ever find true love?
As these two young women try to discover who they are and their paths in life, can they find their way out of their self-imposed cocoons to become beautiful butterflies that rise above it all?
Review of Chasing Petalouthes
In Chasing Petalouthes, we follow the younger generation as they navigate peer pressure, love, loss, uncertainty, fear, and surf a massive wave of emotions. Friendships and family ties figure prominently. Evvie reminds us that we can pull away from our heritage, from our families, but ultimately, they are woven into the fabric of who we are. We’re also reminded that connections to loved ones lost are never severed, and that life’s too short to not follow your dreams. Stella teaches us to not ignore red flags that come up in our lives and reminds us to respect ourselves above all. Like the other books in ‘The Gift Saga’, you won’t be able to put this one down. Effie Kammenou’s characters are so real — they’re us, they’re people we know, they’re part of our family.
It was wonderful to check back in with the Honey Hill Girls and follow this new part of their lives and that of their children. Still, it’s so hard to say goodbye. I love these characters and their stories so much, I’ll just have to read them all over again.
Effie is working on a new series, which she said focuses on the lives, loves, and family of three sisters living in a port town on Long Island. Each book will highlight one sister’s journey, though the sisters are part of each other’s stories.
“It will be contemporary, but I will delve into the past through the older members of the family as I did in this series. And yes, the family will be Greek.”
By: Effie Kammenou
Publication Date: June 3, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
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