Corelli's Mandolin is an elegantly written novel that puts you right alongside the characters in WWII Greece. Although the first part of the book can be difficult to get through, once you invest the time you will become accustomed to his writing and barely even notice it.
The ending did spoil the novel for me and I spent some time thinking why this was. In the beginning of the novel, the reader is treated to various viewpoints to create a wide perspective of events, but as the novel progresses it becomes narrower and narrower. I think I would have been fine with the ending if we had gotten the viewpoint of the noticeably absent character, and maybe some new ones, not to give away any spoilers. The end of the novel felt very different from the beginning in terms of structure. [I also feel that the end of Mandras was ridiculous...I thought he was being set up for something big!]
That being said, Corelli's Mandolin is still excellent, even if the ending jarrs you a little bit as being too chick-flick. The characters are well-developed and intriguing and the background is vibrant. You are put right there in the thick of the culture! Although this novel is classified as romance, it's not just your bedroom romance, but a multitude of romances for people, countries, ideals, etc. It did remind me a little of a "modern War and Peace" - but I type this gingerly because these books are certainly different, but you can use this as a sort of reference point.
I would definitely recommend this book to others! However, this isn't light reading nor pulp - you need to have an engaged mind to enjoy this.