The Dark Wife
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The Dark Wife

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,721 ratings  ·  207 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 1st 2011 by Createspace
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Tipping the Velvet by Sarah WatersFingersmith by Sarah WatersAnnie on My Mind by Nancy GardenKeeping You a Secret by Julie Anne PetersFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Lesbian Fiction
21st out of 968 books — 1,146 voters
Witch Wolf by Winter PenningtonThe Dark Wife by Sarah DiemerAmbereye by Gill McKnightSanta Olivia by Jacqueline CareyThe Midnight Hunt by L.L. Raand
F/F Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
2nd out of 181 books — 228 voters

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Community Reviews

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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...more
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...more
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...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
Jun 03, 2011 Jillian -always aspiring- rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...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...more
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
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
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...more
Oct 19, 2012 Nomad rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Shala Kerrigan
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...more
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
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...more
The Dark Wife is a retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. In the original myth – or at least, the most pervading version of it – Persephone is kidnapped and raped by the god of the Underworld, Hades. In despair, her mother, Demeter, goddess of the harvest, neglected the earth and nothing was allowed to grow. Persephone was returned to her mother at the demand of Zeus, and the earth became fertile once again - but their reunion was not permanent. Hades tricked Persephone into eating...more
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...more
This was an excellent book. The writing style was poetic and very well crafted. I've read several of this author's books. All were equally beautiful in prose. This book, as well as her others, was dark and haunting, and nothing like i would consider a YA (young adult) book to be. Not as an insult to young adults and their ability to handle something dark and serious, i guess i'm just used to hearing about all the glittery YA vampires and high school issues. This wasn't any of that sort of thing....more
i've seen a bunch of lower reviews of this book that i don't disagree with, but i will stand by my rating because *I* enjoyed the hell out of this book. I've read many other books much more well written and executed that honestly were a chore to complete. This book I read in one sitting and here's why.

1. It's gay. It's exceedingly gay. There isn't even a hint of heterosexual romance that isn't Zeus coercing or raping someone. I suppose several characters might in fact be bisexual or pan, but my...more
Michael Loring
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer is a new twist on the age-old story of Hades and Persephone, the Greek Gods believed to be the “King” and Queen of the Underworld.

Out of all the stories from the Greek mythology about the Gods of Mount Olympus, the myth of Hades and Persephone had always been my favorite. The Lord of the Underworld takes the daughter of the Goddess Demeter to be his wife, marking her as the Queen of the Underworld. But, in this novel, things happen a bit… differently.

Hades is a woma...more
Nov 25, 2011 Lucy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: lgbtq
I wasn't sure what to think about this book at first. Although the premise is awesome, the beginning was a bit slow. It starts out with a sort of removed, fast pace to it, and initially I had trouble getting drawn into it. But that all changes after Persephone gets to the Underworld. The pacing slows down, and gives you time to get attached to each of the characters in turn. By the end, I was in love.

I've always been fascinated by the Persephone myth, and also disturbed by it. This was a wonderf...more
The Dark Wife is a very sweet, very heartwarming rewriting of the Hades/Persephone myth with a most original idea: Hades is a lady and she never kidnapped Persephone ; they were very much in love. The real, big bad villain of the story here is Zeus.
The story was extremely well-written ; some passages were very poetic without ever being obnoxiously purple in the slightest. It also felt well-researched, in the Ancient-Greek lifestyle department (but I am no expert). And I have to admit, it's very...more
I was not aware that this book was self-published until I read Vinaya's review of the book. For some reason Greek mythology has been a really popular selling point in recent says, but a lot of writers get it wrong, painfully so. You know who I am talking about.

Diemer offers, in very sweet prose, the coming-of-age tale of Persephone, daughter of Demeter in this retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth. A few months before she is to be presented as a goddess on Mount Olympus, Persephone falls in lo
Dawn Vanniman
I received this book from the author and was thrilled with it! As soon as I opened the package, I was excited to read the book - look at that cover - it's gorgeous! It turns out that Ms. Diemer's sister is a fab artist - love, love, love it! Then I read the acknowledgments, I always do, and they were sweet and open and made me want to be friends with the author.

This story is billed as a lesbian retelling of the myth of Persephone and Hades. Most stories with gay characters deal with the issues a...more
(Fair warning: I suck at writing formal reviews.)

I loved this book. Some time ago, I stumbled across Sarah Diemer's website when a friend linked to a contest she had running. Her premise of a lesbian retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone fascinated me. For one, it's one of my favorite classical Greek myths. For another -- LESBIANS! Who get to have adventures! SQUEE.

This is very much a character story more than a plot story. It's about Persephone finding out who she is, and who she loves....more
Oh how to review a lesbian retelling of a classic Greek myth? The very concept is sqee-inducing. It takes skill to write a familiar story similarly enough to be recognized but also alter it enough to be fresh. Persephone and Hades' love story is bittersweet and beautiful in this interpretation. There is one major problem that annoyed me about The Dark Wife though. It suffers from a very bad case of, "tell not show." Our lovers are constantly affirming their love and devotion with words...many ma...more
The Greek mythical story with a different twist was very well written and engaging. Abit of knowledge of Greek gods and their stories will help you to further your understand of the story. Persephone, daughter of Zeus is expected to take her place on Mt Olympus.... She doesn't want to leave the earthy forests and its inhabitants. One night, she meets Hades and is instantly drawn to her.... in this twist, the dark lord Hades is a woman! Zeus bestowed the title of the Dark Lord as a joke. Persepho...more
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
Nov 24, 2012 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012

I really enjoyed this lesbian retelling of the Hades Persephone myth, and was somewhat surprised that it's a self-published effort. Not that that matters anymore, but Diemer is a phenomenal storyteller and after going to her website, I saw that she has indeed acquired an agent (hopefully one who will sell the movie rights). The only quality control issues were a few too many "inhaled deeplies" (every writer falls prey to the nostrils) and one or two clichés. Minor, minor stuff. I particularly l...more
Delicious Strawberry
This is a really unique take on the Hades and Persephone myth. Having been a big fan of that myth for a long time, I really enjoyed this story despite its one very unique feature - it's a lesbian story, with Hades being a woman (though this fact is not quite well-known, and Zeus and Poseidon tease Hades for it) and on top of that, this author's writing is also good, especially clear and concise in parts. With such clean writing and a really unique twist on the Hades and Persephone myth, I feel f...more
Jan 03, 2012 Darlene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yvensong
Recommended to Darlene by: an authors' support group
A little slant on Greek mythology. I loved the story and how it was told. I loved most of the characters, I have never loved Zeus, no matter who told his story. I especially loved the take on Hades, Lord Queen of the Underworld and the love and endurance for those in her realm. To hears the cries daily and to attempt to comfort those who couldn't find forgiveness for themselves. What a book of love and understanding! I am sad to leave to my own reality.

I think there are a lot of lessons within t...more
Paige Ellen Stone
I had never heard of Sarah Diemer before this book showed up in a search for another book on Amazon. I was intrigued by the premise and I have found many treasures in this new genre of re-imagining old myths and fairy-tales. The myth of Demeter and Persephone, with its theme of descent into Darkness and ultimate resurrection, has long been a favorite. Ms Diemer's take on the tale seemed promising, especially if she could pull it off, and pull it off she does.
Any story of this sort requires succe...more
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Sarah is a lesbian YA author and storyteller who writes about courageous young ladies who love other ladies. She makes jewelry out of words and wire and loves her wife more than anything, ever. She randomly sparkles. Her first novel, THE DARK WIFE--a YA, lesbian retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth--is out now. She writes lesbian fantasy and science fiction as Elora Bishop.

More about Sarah Diemer...
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