Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney

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Amazon Synopsis: Anaxandra is taken from her birth island at age 6 by King Nicander to be a companion to his crippled daughter, Princess Callisto. Six years later, her new island is sacked by pirates and she is the sole survivor. Alone with only her Medusa figurine, she reinvents herself as Princess Callisto when Menelaus, great king of Sparta, lands with his men. He takes her back to Sparta with him where Helen, his beautiful wife, does not believe that the red-headed child is Princess Callisto. Although fearful of the half-mortal, half-goddess Helen, Anaxandra is able to stay out of harm’s way—until the Trojan princes Paris and Aeneas arrive. Paris and Helen’s fascination with each other soon turns to passion and plunges Sparta and Troy into war. Can Anaxandra find the courage to reinvent herself once again, appease the gods, and save herself?

Got this on sale on Amazon. It has the most hideous cover of all time but I think it cost me about a pound, so not enough to complain about too much. 

The book follows a young princess, Anaxandra, who is taken from her home and through a series of misfortune events ends up in the care of Helen of Troy. Through her perspective we see the events of the Greek classic come to life and follow her own struggles to survive during war.

Anaxandra seemed a lot  older than 12 years old, as she is in most of the novel. Her speech and actions made her seem older and wiser, but not always. When we first meet her she is this stupid child who makes the most convenient of choices for the plot, but she seemed to be very lucky in everything else she was doing.

I adore the representation of Helen and Paris in this version. They are not the star crossed lovers who fought to be together, it is a far more real representation purely because they are selfish people who let a lot of people die for them. Helen has a narcissistic attitude that makes her revel in the attention and Paris is a cruel, petulant child in a God's body really.It was refreshing to read something that did not romanticize the war, and it really worked well.

In particular, there was a line in it that references Troy's inability to recognise that the prince who started the conflict was not 'prince enough to finish it' and that just made me happy to read. It meant the book offered a refreshing look at the classic tales.

It is a short book so the set up is rushed but once that half way point is hit it gets a lot better. Had the page count been higher I feel it would have been a far stronger piece of literature.

Overall a quick read that resulted in not being anything I connected with too well. Good for a day on the sun lounger. Ultimately could have used being longer and covering more of the war. Due to its age range it missed out the gritty parts at the end of the ten years just because the main characters story had "finished".


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