Jenne's Reviews > Lavinia

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
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's review
Jul 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historical, reviewed
Read in May, 2009

Little is known about Lavinia, Aeneas of Troy’s second wife, with whom he founds his empire. Now Ursula K. Le Guin turns her incredible talent to give voice to Vergil’s silent character from the Aenead.

Growing up in peaceful Latium, a beloved daughter of King Latinus, Lavinia knows more freedom than many princesses. She roams the hills and forests of her homeland and visits the sacred springs. It is at one of these sacred places she first meets the poet who tells Lavina she is destined to marry a great man from Troy and with whom she will have just a few short years. But her mother and most of the kingdom favour Turnus, the king of neighboring Rutuli and Lavinia’s cousin as her match. And so, when the oracle tells King Latinus to marry his daughter to the Trojan outsider a bitter civil war breaks out, a war that breeds resentment for years to come and shapes the kingdom that will become Rome.

Le Guin, drawing on Vergil’s original tale, creates a realistic mythological account of a shy girl who becomes a strong partner to a great hero and passionate heroine in her own right.

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