My Greek Books
It’s My Greek Books Time! I hadn’t planned it, but this month I read three retellings of Greek myths. The reimagining of Greek myths is a hot trend, and literary experts say they expect to see it continue for the foreseeable future. The myths are timeless. And written in a way to spark discussion and inspire. This, I believe is what makes them relevant in modern times. We can read them, interpret them in new ways, retell, reimagine, AND give other characters a voice. This is the genius of Greek myths. They’ll never go out of style!
While most myth retellings and reimaginings are written by non-Greek authors, I have stumbled on a few by Greek authors. They’re now on my to-read list. This month’s reads are by as we like to call them, Philhellene authors. So… without further ado…
Come along on a virtual trip to Ancient Greece!
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Phaedra by Laura Shepperson
Alcove Press (January 10, 2023)
About the author
London-based Author Laura Shepperson studied Classical Studies at university and has been fascinated with Greek myths ever since. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction, and is currently trying to learn Ancient Greek. Phaedra is her debut novel.
We all know Phaedra as a princess of Crete, sister of Ariadne and the Minotaur, and daughter of King Minos. In this retelling, we get to hear from Phaedra herself.
Recall, Ariadne helped Prince Theseus slay the Minotaur and find his way out of the labyrinth. But Theseus isn’t so grateful. She runs off with him, however, he returns to Crete like a man scorned, insisting that the god Dionysios spirited her away. He’s not leaving without a bride, so he decides Phaedra will do. She doesn’t want to be the consolation prize but agrees, to save her family from shame. She’s promised she’ll be a queen and have everything she wants. But Athens isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Following King Aegeus’ death, Athens has descended into lawlessness. And no woman is safe.
No one acknowledges Phaedra as the queen, even her husband. She’s relegated to shabby quarters, and only has her maid and her cousin Medea for company. Things go from bad to worse when Theseus leaves town. Hippolytus, Theseus’ son, attacks Phaedra and leaves her for dead. Since Theseus has championed democracy in Athens, there must be a trial—even though he’s a prince. Hippolytus is found guilty but doesn’t get punished, and Theseus is hungry for revenge. Phaedra must seek justice on her own. Will she prevail?
My Greek Books review
We never really knew what happened, but now, Phaedra finally has a voice to share her story with the world. And that voice echoes loud and proud. In Laura Shepperson’s capable hands, this clever retelling will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. Add it to your list.
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Athena’s Child by Hannah Lynn
Independently Published (February 1, 2021)
About the author
UK-based, Award-winning Novelist Hannah Lynn published her first book, Amendments, a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015. Her second book, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist, garnered the 2018 Kindle Storyteller Award and the Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Best Adult Ebook. Athena’s Child, was a 2020 Gold Medalist at the Independent Publishers Awards.
She taught physics for 15 years in the UK, Thailand, Malaysia, Austria, Jordan. Inspired by her students, Hannah began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. She’s published more than 20 books across genre. Her work has been published in multiple languages.
The most beautiful mortal around, Medusa’s family could not keep her safe. So they send her to the goddess Athena for protection. Athena welcomes Medusa into her temple, where she serves as a priestess. Medusa proves a faithful servant, but when Poseidon sees her, his lust is unstoppable, and defiles Medusa in the temple. But the goddess of wisdom sides with the god of the sea and not only expels Medusa, but curses her. Her hair becomes a web of serpents and anyone who meets her gaze is turned to stone. She has no choice but to hide.
Danae, who also couldn’t escape the lust of a god, gives birth to Perseus. Years later, when an evil king offers to marry her, Perseus, himself a demi-god, sets out a quest to save his mother. He must slay Medusa and present her head. He trains hard, but does he have the skills to take on full-fledged gods? To get what he needs, he visits the Graeae on their island, and he’ll have to outwit them to get what he wants. When he finds Medusa, he tries to convince her that he’s doing a noble thing. Will he leave a hero or remain on the island as another stone monument? You’ll have to read it to find out.
My Greek Books Review
The world finally gets to hear from Medusa, and though she is transformed into a monster, Hannah Lynn makes us sympathize with her and hope for her deliverance. The Graeae were hilarious, and I could totally see them vying for their one eye to see what was happening. Athena’s Child is a quick read, and I couldn’t put it down.
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Andromache’s Story by Nancy Deswik MacCreery
Independently Published (January 6, 2022)
About the author
Nancy Deswik MacCreery is the award-winning author of 6 books. She published her first novel in 2009. Her stories are known for their blend of humor, romance, and intrigue. At home in North Carolina, she can often be found hiking, swimming, and “obsessing over her garden”.
When Paris returns to Troy with Helen, the entire family—and kingdom— is plunged into war. Andromache is tasked with befriending Helen, and helping the self-centered woman feel at home. They forge a friendship, which is tested when Andromache loses her beloved husband Hector in battle. But there’s more at stake.
Through the long years of war, the women discover their strengths and forge ahead. When the Greeks prevail, Andromache is forced to make a life or death decision for herself and her son. Can she start a new life? And what happens to the rest of the family?
My Greek Books review
Andromache’s Story is a fun and enchanting read. We get to hear from Hector’s widow about what happened in Troy. Nancy Deswick MacCreery’s story of love, courage, loyalty, and friendship is one you won’t be able to put down.
My Greek Books—March 2023 Edition
Hope you enjoyed this trek back to Ancient Greece—and Troy. Check back next month for the next edition of My Greek Books. Until then, keep reading!