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The Dark Wife

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  3,487 Ratings  ·  374 Reviews
Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 12th 2011 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published May 11th 2011)
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F/F Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
1st out of 276 books — 364 voters
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Best Lesbian Fiction
20th out of 1,320 books — 1,653 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 26, 2016 Riley rated it really liked it
Lesbian Hades and Persephone retelling.
This was pretty much everything I've ever wanted
Miranda the Gayvenger
I’ll just say it right off the bat: I really loved this book. A large part of my love comes from the fact that there are very few YA books that represent me. Most YA books that have gay main characters usually deal with the coming out issue, or having the main characters dealing with their sexuality. It’s always an “issues” book. I’m not saying those books are bad--far from it, I think we need those books if they help gay teens--but we also need books where the sexuality of the main character is ...more

The best word I can think of to describe Sarah Diemer's debut novel The Dark Wife, is sweet. It is a very pretty revisionist retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone, rich in atmosphere and romance.

The premise is promising. Persephone, the daughter of the ambitious Earth goddess Demeter, falls in love with a nymph named Charis. But her beloved is tragically taken away from her when she resists the lecherous advances of Zeus, who Persephone later discovers is her father. Filled with hatred
I really wanted to like this, but I... didn't. I'm sorry! But I really didn't. For starters, it was so... gooshy. I feel like a twelve year old boy screaming "cooties" here, but jfc, there is a limit to how much of that oozing and gooshing and doe-eyeing at each other I can take. I mean, just to put this in perspective, I love romantic subplots! And I am a die-hard fandom shipper! BUT THIS WAS SO GOOSHY AUGH COOTIES.

And Persephone, really, we get that you love Hades; you only tell us this about
May 18, 2011 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I expected The Dark Wife to be a romantic lesbian Young Adult retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth, a sort of modernized, supernatural love story underground. That turned out to be only the surface layer of an empowering, emotional, spiritually rich journey of one young woman who, with uncommon courage and compassion, overcame the impossible in charting a destiny of her own making to become one of the most powerful and enduring Goddesses of all time.

Persephone reclaims her life from those
Jun 11, 2012 Mia rated it liked it
Shelves: queer, mythology
I was all over this concept, let me say straight off. Honestly it's the concept that kept this from being a two starred review. This book almost hits a lot of interesting points repeatedly, but it always tends to land shy of where it seems to be going. The notions of Greek Gods being human-like but also not kind of worked, but Zeus and Hades were so polarized in terms of evil and good respectively (and isn't that a twist compared to most modern tellings) that it was hard to really take either of ...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
Jun 03, 2011 Jillian -always aspiring- rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who's been disappointed by recent Greek myth retellings for young adults
(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)

Imagine that everything you knew about Greek mythology was skewed so that Zeus could better control mortals by spreading lies and untruths. Imagine if Hades, ruler of the Underworld, was actually a goddess. Imagine if Persephone, daughter of Demeter, actually chose to escape to the Underworld instead of being kidnapped. The Dark Wife, debut novel from Sarah Diemer, is a tale that turns Greek myth inside out and makes it something darkly beautiful, a gem among the dull r
Jul 17, 2012 Sophia rated it it was ok
Shelves: sff, ya, ebook, 2012
Nice premise (lesbian Persephone retelling with a female Hades), rather simplistically/amateurishly executed. I do wonder, as with the lesbian Cinderella novel "Ash", if I would have liked this better as a curious teenager, since it's aimed at the YA set, who is of course pretty lacking in same-sex romances of any sort. However, I am left just wanting to recommend my friend Katherine Beutner's marvellous "Alcestis", a retelling of a Greek myth which involves a girl's descent to the Underworld in ...more
I decided to try this after reading Vinaya's review. She made some good points about the works of self-published authors that, having been reading some of them myself, I was curious to verify.

Quality-wise this is a 4 star book. But it would be unfair of me to rate it like that because I've been giving 4 stars to books I've enjoyed much more. The thing is, romance is not exactly my cup of tea. I mostly just tolerate it in my stories rather than it being my reason for picking them. Anytime that th
Oct 13, 2014 D rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, fantasy
I wanted to like this. I really did. But I couldn't. Not really.

It has its moments. I loved that scene in Hades where the dead were finally allowed to enter the Elysian Fields, only to find that it wasn't the paradise they thought it were, but just a different side of the coin of suffering. But at the same time, this pleasure is marred by the fact that well, I was wondering the whole time how much the author really knew about ancient Greek mythology so as to re-tell one of the most controversial
Bard Bloom
Sep 24, 2015 Bard Bloom rated it did not like it
The Dark Wife, by Sarah Diemer, is a lesbian separatist reformulation of the Persephone myth.

Now, I suppose that someone could do a *good* lesbian separatist reformulation of the Persephone myth, especially if they start out with the first nonstandardness of The Dark Wife, viz. that Hades is a woman. I've certainly read versions of the myth in which Persephone actively chooses Hades for one reason or another.

But The Dark Wife has some divergences from Greek mythology which I find blasphemous (as
This book should have been up my alley, but it ended up not being quite to my taste. It's beautifully written and lush, and delivers what's promised--a consensual lesbian version of the story of Persephone and Hades. But Hades was so perfect she sort of bored me, and it never quite felt Greek in any meaningful way; it felt like the framework of the story was borrowed, but it never engaged with the assumptions of Greek myth and critiqued them, it just ignored them. The characters felt more like m ...more
Rachel Brown
Jul 26, 2012 Rachel Brown rated it really liked it
A gorgeous re-telling of the myth of Hades and Persephone as a consensual lesbian romance with a gender-switched Hades. And if that doesn’t get your attention, then I don’t know my friends list.

Persephone’s idyllic girlhood comes to a sudden, terrible end when her friend Charis, a nymph who had recently become her first lover, is raped by Zeus and transformed into a rose bush. Grieving and furious, Persephone is thinking of running away when she meets Hades, a goddess mockingly called “lord” of
May 07, 2016 Victoria rated it liked it

it was so cute and so gay but it is also a very simple story. I mean everyone is good and gay BUT Zeus who is blamed for everything.
I would have love to have a little for more depth for pretty much everyone, the idea of a lesbian retelling of Hades and Persephone is great but not very well executed.
Danika at The Lesbrary
First of all, I love this cover.

Second, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I was a little worried about the quality of writing I've come to expect from self-published books, but this was good! It's a simple story, and the synopsis pretty much tells you everything that happens in the book. It's a teen romance that unfolds slowly, but with a mythological twist. I really enjoyed it.

Full review to be posted soon at The Lesbrary!
Jun 19, 2015 Efka rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, kitos
It was all right. That's all I can say, because I've already forgotten what this book was about. Just a quick, decent, but unimpressive read.
Cross-posted with my tumblr

You know, even with my exam lurking around the corner, there's no heartache a good novel can't fix.

Why yes, I do believe that. Why else would I always keep a copy of Lips Touch: Three Times nearby? The library is my Tiffany's, and books are the chicken soup for my dark, twisted soul and right now, Sarah Diemer's The Dark Wife grounds me when I ought to be nervously leafing through my textbook in the hopes of some knowledge seeping through into my head.

In case you have
I don't exactly remember how I came upon The Dark Wife the first time. I don't think it was in the usual way -- I seem to remember that someone posted a to do list, and they were going to buy this book if they completed it. Something like that. Anyway, I was enchanted by the whole idea: a lesbian retelling of the Rape of Persephone, consensual and with a genderflipped Hades. A reclamation of a horrible story, in both a feminist sense and an LGBT sense. Apparently, it's based on older versions of ...more
Sep 02, 2016 Rhea rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because the myth of Hades and Persephone is my favorite and any retelling is typically going to be interesting. The concept of this book, a female!Hades is wonderful and original but it goes downhill from there.

The book itself feels strangely paced with some parts too rushed and other details just repeating themselves. One way to make your reader feel like they're trapped in the underworld too is just reiterating the same lines and concepts over and over. Yup, there's dead
Jul 12, 2016 Casey rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, kindle, wlw
tw: rape
I have no idea how to rate this. I loved the writing, and the beginning was strong, but Persephone felt too young and innocent for me to really get behind her relationship with Hades. I might lower the rating of this after thinking about it some more
Vanessa Raposo
Jan 20, 2016 Vanessa Raposo rated it really liked it
I've always thought that Greek Mythology lacked of lesbians.
(Also, Zeus is treated as the jerk he actually is in this book. Loved it.)
I wanted to love this (I mean, f/f Hades/Persephone I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU) but man, this was one of the cheesiest things I've ever read. The writing was trying really hard to be all epic and poetic and just fell flat. And I will never be able to take sex scenes where orgasms are described as "glowing" or, in this case, "when the star burst" (lmao) seriously.
Brooke Bailey
Jan 16, 2016 Brooke Bailey rated it it was ok
To say that I was excited about a female retelling of the ancient tale of Hades and Persephone would be an understatement. The lack of LGBT+ fiction in general is a tragedy, but this is especially truthful for the women in this community.

The trouble with existing LGBT+ fiction is that...well, much of it isn’t that great, following mediocre plots and boring cliches which plague the genre.

I can say, with happiness, that The Dark Wife did neither of these things. However, it still fell short of b
Sarah Diemer's The Dark Wife is beautifully written, a clever twist on Greek mythology where the gods are more mortal than they realize and the lore we know isn't what it seems. Well done.

The Dark Wife is an excellent love story between Hades (goddess--not god--of the underworld) and Persephone, the well-known daughter of Demeter. There's the descent into the underworld, which isn't what you learned in school, and Diemer keeps the integral pomegranate, which she uses to brilliant effect late in
Sep 18, 2014 Vlora rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book. I absolutely adore the cover and the blurb sounded amazing. Greek mythology with a lesbian love story? Sign me up.

However, it didn't live up to my expectations. I liked it okay, but I don't feel enthusiastic about it. It's a romance as much as a book about learning to have some confidence in yourself and striving to see the good in things.

All of my problems with this book come down to one thing: it lacks depth. The book grazes several great issues; the story CO
I'm gonna be frank here: I went into this book with high expectations, and I think that was my problem. On the one hand - it's a very solid work, a clever and sweet queer retelling of an old myth. I like it on principle as well as in fact, and it was an enjoyable read.

On the other hand, I was expecting it to have more bulk to it, more breadth, and it didn't. It's a romance first and foremost, and there's nothing inherently wrong about that, except when (like me) you get it into your head that th
Shala Kerrigan
Aug 19, 2011 Shala Kerrigan rated it it was amazing
The story of Persephone and Hades was always one of my favorite myths. I've always imagined it was told wrong.

This is the telling I was waiting for. This one which is told so lovingly, in such beautiful language, that you fall in love a bit with the characters.

Persephone is not a victim in this book, she's a wonderfully spirited young goddess. Hades is the very essence of compassion and love. It's one of the most wonderful love stories I've ever read. As far as the romance goes, the drama and
Oct 19, 2012 Nomad rated it really liked it
Shelves: lbgt
This was a very good book. It's the age old Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, but retold and with a twist. This time Hades is the GODDESS of the Underworld and not the god. So this is an F/F romance book, and frankly a very good one too. It's supposedly written for the YA market, but this is very much a book that trancends genre. Any adult could read this and not get the YA feel. In fact I wasn't sure if it truly was YA until someone in the F/F Romance group mentioned that it was.

Diemer does a
May 18, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm moving this one to presently reading as a sneak peak of the Prologue and the First Chapter came out earlier this week as a wonderful, amazing gift from herself. I'm so intrigued and curious to see where this goes. All the girls, and different characters, how people interact, and the gorgeous, silky flow of the words.

And how soon it will be when I will have the whole of it in my hands to devour whole!


Finished it and I love it so, so, so, much. My favorite quote is "I'm not afraid of bei
Oct 28, 2015 Ashleigh rated it really liked it
The Dark Wife as stated is a YA lesbian retelling of the story of Persephone which i enjoyed.
The story was interested and i read it very quickly.
I was a bit confused by the turn around in attitude of Persophones mother at about 30% the way through and Hades was a bit too nice for my likeing.
But it was a quick fun read and I'd recommend it as a fun light read.
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2016 Reading Chal...: The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer 1 19 Feb 14, 2016 09:16AM  
  • Braided: A Lesbian Rapunzel (Sappho's Fables: Lesbian Fairy Tales)
  • Nightshade (Arravan, #1)
  • Seven: A Lesbian Snow White
  • Lady Knight
  • Sword of the Guardian (Legends of Ithyria, #1)
  • A Hero's Tale (When Women Were Warriors,  #3)
  • Tripping to Somewhere
  • Roses and Thorns: Beauty and the Beast Retold
  • The Temple at Landfall (Celaeno, #1)
  • Ambereye (Garoul, #2)
  • The Salbine Sisters
  • The Pyramid Waltz
  • Wild
  • Lunatic Fringe (Tales of the Pack, #1)
  • Backwards to Oregon
  • Sister Mischief
I write about heroic, magical girls who love girls. YA author of Golden Crown Award-winning THE DARK WIFE (the lesbian, YA retelling of the Persephone myth) and TWIXT and co-author, with my amazing wife, author Jennifer Diemer, of Project Unicorn: A Lesbian YA Extravaganza.

More about Sarah Diemer...

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