Elektra by Jennifer Saint

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Stunning! Jennifer Saint really knows how to take the framework of a Greek myth and breathe life into all the characters, their emotions and motivations. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting, rapidly turning the chapters between the three characters, Clytemnestra, Cassandra and Elektra. The central storyline is the well known tale of the abduction of Helen of Sparta, by Paris, prince of Troy. But in this book, Helen is a rather vague and enigmatic creature and the focus is most definitely on the three women on the edge of the story: Clytemnestra, sister of Helen, and wife of Agamemnon, leader of the army that sailed to retrieve Helen; Cassandra, princess of Troy, doomed seer of the future; and Elektra, the stubborn young daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.

Saint’s writing provides insight into how a wife can come to detest her husband and seek his death, how a solitary woman can be disparaged and reviled, and how a naive daughter can cling to belief in her father despite clear evidence of his cruelty. Saint brings to life the inner world of her characters, and they become very believable. And in the process, she reveals how each of these women struggles within a world where women are treated as a commodity to be won, bartered, scorned or sacrificed.

There is no man who is completely trustworthy; the world of men and women is so structured as to prevent any sense of equality or power. However, Clytemnestra, Cassandra and Elektra, each are strong and determined women and they fight against men, and against gods, to take their place in the world. It is a fiery tale of anger and passion – riveting reading!

This latest novel is even better than Ariadne – highly recommended.

Themes: Greek mythology, Women, Power, Revenge.

Helen Eddy