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Phaedra by Laura Shepperson

The Story

PHAEDRA synopsis from the publisher:

PHAEDRA by Laura Shepperson

Debut novelist Laura Shepperson offers a powerful feminist retelling of Phaedra and her unyielding quest for justice, perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and Natalie Haynes.

Phaedra has been cast to the side all her life: daughter of an adulteress, sister of a monster, and now unwilling bride to the much-older, power-hungry Theseus. Young, naïve, and idealistic, she has accepted her lot in life, resigned to existing under the sinister weight of Theseus’s control and the constant watchful eye of her handsome stepson Hippolytus.

When supposedly pious Hippolytus assaults her, Phaedra’s world is darkened in the face of untouchable, prideful power. In the face of injustice, Phaedra refuses to remain quiet any longer: such an awful truth demands to be brought to light. When Phaedra publicly accuses Hippolytus of rape, she sparks an overdue reckoning.

The men of Athens gather to determine the truth. Meanwhile, the women of the city, who have no vote, are gathering in the shadows. The women know truth is a slippery thing in the hands of men. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard. Until now.

Timely, unflinching, and transportive, Laura Shepperson’s Phaedra carves open long-accepted wounds to give voice to one of the most maligned figures of mythology and offers a stunning story of how truth bends under the weight of patriarchy but can be broken open by the force of one woman’s bravery.

My Review: PHAEDRA

After reading a few Greek mythologies this year (plus a reread of my absolute favorites by Madeline Miller) I was interested in reading Laura Sheeperson’s reimagining of the story of the greek character Phaedra.

Even though Sheeperson creates a story that gives voice to the women of Greece who’ve never been acknowledged in the Epic stories, having too many cast members in her novel, lost the focus of the main thread of the story. Having recently read the novel Ithaca where the author of the novel focuses on Penelope and the goddess Hera, we as readers delved into these characters who felt like women with flesh, bone, and an awareness of 21st century thinking. Whereas in Sheeperson’s there are a number of characters POV’s that we bounce back and forth from chapter one all the way to the end.

And I feel Sheeperson’s story lacks that full depth we see in Madelin Miller’s novels, world building, and focus of the female experience in its totality. There are moments, small passages and glimpses hidden in her novel, but it’s not all encompassing. The story, though well written, didn’t sweep me under into a barreling current that takes me under and leaves me breathless.

Again, I think the story did give a new perspective of Ancient Greece, ruled by and for men: a patriarchy with its cyclical abuse of women and a young woman who has very little options in safety, protection, or resources.

Happy Reading ~ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blot – Satisfyingly Inked

From the Publisher

Content Warning

Please be aware of the following content information before reading:

This book discusses rape, murder of children, on the page sexual assault, gore, death, and violence.

Publication Details

Pub DateISBNPage CountPublisherAge GroupSource & FormatReview Posted Online
10-Jan-23978-1639101535304Alcove PressAdultNetGalley, Digital ARCOctober 23, 2022

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Welcome Reader!

I’m Cecelia and I’m so glad you’re here! You’ll find honest reviews, book recommendations, along with other bookish essentials. So happy you stopped by!

– C

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