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The Dark Wife

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  5,424 ratings  ·  587 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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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,424 ratings  ·  587 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Retelling of Persephone's story. Wonderment... So girl-on-girl!
Emotional exploration. Prophecied love. Gaea. Cerberus the cuddly! The dead rebellious. The PTSD heroes forever.
Definitely underrated. Best for lovers of all things of Ancient Greece.
Warning: male figures get thoroughly villainized and punished beyond measure here. Zeus, particularly. It's a bit overboard, really. All the satisfying relationships are sapphic (F-F), which is sort of refreshing and eye-roll-inducing, at the same time
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lesbian Hades and Persephone retelling.
This was pretty much everything I've ever wanted
3.5 stars!

I enjoyed this one! It's one of the more accurate retellings when it comes to Hades and Persephone's personalities, though I still don't think this Persephone had quite the fire I like to see. I prefer my Persephone a bit more fearsome.

This book is also gayer than I thought it would be and it's awesome. Not only are the main characters gay, but most of the side characters as well. It's very female focused and I loved that.

The pacing was what dragged this down for me personally. The
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
Whitney Atkinson
4.25 Stars

I wish this book were 500 pages long. I love the setting, the writing, the characters, the conflict-- everything was just pushed too closely together and I would have loved to see this more drawn out. Hades is SUCH an interesting and well-developed character, both personality-wise and in her appearance and mannerisms. But in contrast, Persephone just felt very... childish? I can't locate the exact word to use to describe her, but she was very quick to upset and her naivety was often ir
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

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
Lia  (a paper pigeon)
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
"You go there every day. You speak with them, but they don't remember your visits. The don't listen. They don't change. So why... Why do you put yourself through this trauma, in vain?"
"I must." Hades regarded me evenly. "If I can provide peace for even one moment, one moment in an eternity of moments, my efforts, none of them, were in vain."

I don't think I'll ever be able to look at a pomegranate again without crying.


What a wonderful, emotional and glorious story.
The word beautiful appears
Mar 15, 2011 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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
3.5 stars. So... this is a sapphic retelling of the Hades/Persephone myth. It's not the best thing I've ever read, but it's definitely solid.

♔ Hades and Persephone are each likable, decent characters. Hades is a little flat and far less evil than you'd expect. Persephone isn't full of personality, but her character arc as she goes from a woman without much agency to a woman in full control of her own destiny makes up for her initial character. The ending of her character arc is especially power
Nov 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology, queer
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
Book Worm
I just love when old myths are retold and the beliefs we have about the old Gods are questioned. Here we are asked to imagine a thoughtless and selfish Zeus and a kind, loving and gentle Hades, whose actually a Goddess. And I must say it makes much more sense. I'd rather imagine a gentle "Lord" of the Dead - for death is everlasting and unchangeable. Who would want to be ruled by someone cruel and cold forever?
What astonished me was the poetry hidden in this story, in the descriptions, in the sy
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, lgbtq
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
SapphicAThon: Retelling

I don't know what it is about the author's writing but I just don't like it. I think I would've liked this more if I knew anything about the Hades and Persephone myth.
This is a really lovely retelling.

I love myths and I love when the ladies of myths get a voice and perspective in modern adaptations.
And I have always had a special fondness for Persephone, so I'm really happy to see her and Lady Hades falling in love in a more healthy way than the original myth tells it.

As someone who's not a big fan of marriage plots: I'M SO HAPPY THEY ARE WIVES.

I love Hades, she's so gentle and good, I want to protect her too.
The characterisation of Persephone could have go
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
“You are so loved, Persephone. You will endure such sorrow, but you will transform the world.”

3.25 stars.

Mmmmm. Lots of mixed feelings here. The relationship between Hades and Persephone was sweet, but there wasn't much else to this. The writing was good sometimes, and not good sometimes? I feel like I would have enjoyed this if it was shorter. A lot of the story felt pretty isolated and directionless, because of the handful of subplots that kept fading in and out. Persephone mostly just sat a
Audiobook version: Though i like the narrator from other books I've listened to, this is one book where despite having a good narrator, i enjoyed reading this book more.
I'm still giving it 5 stars because i love Sarah Diemer's writing. I love her prose and pacing, not too mention the re-telling of this Greek mythology. It was just weird having someone else put their inflections on it.
I recommend this book however you get it.
Jillian -always aspiring-
Apr 29, 2011 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 dul
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, ebook, sff, ya-children-s
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
Bard Bloom
Sep 24, 2015 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
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!
May 01, 2016 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.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: wlw, lgbt-queer-rep
3.5/5 Yeah, it's a nice book.
You thought you knew the story of Hades and Persephone ? You haven't.
Greek myths, Goddess Hades of the Underworld and a bunch of lesbians. Of course it was nice to read.
Except not that much happened and it was basically insta love so... Although I didn't hate anything about it, I didn't fall deeply in Love with it either.
•°• gabs •°•
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wlw
4.5!! loved it and the atmosphere and the writing and the twists. trigger warning for sexual assault and rape though.

Rachel Brown
Jul 26, 2012 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
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
Mel González
“You see, I have been content with the darkness. But then you came, with your fire. And you reminded me about the stars, shining in the dark, never wavering.”

This book, apart from being a Hades and Persephone retelling, is the classic tale of the story being written by the ones in power. Hades is perceived by the entire world as the dark and awful "lord" of the Underworld but in reality, she's such a sweetheart. I would have fallen in love with her as well because she's such a kind and love
Sep 01, 2016 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
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
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Play Book Tag: The Dark Wife/Sarah Diemer/3 Stars 1 13 Aug 02, 2018 09:01AM  
2017 Reading Chal...: The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer 1 27 Feb 14, 2016 09:16AM  
  • Nightshade (Arravan, #1)
  • Sappho's Fables, Volume 1: Three Lesbian Fairy Tale Novellas
  • Lady Knight
  • Seven: A Lesbian Snow White
  • The Temple at Landfall (Celaeno, #3)
  • A Hero's Tale (When Women Were Warriors,  #3)
  • Tripping to Somewhere
  • Roses and Thorns: Beauty and the Beast Retold
  • Goldenseal (Garoul, #1)
  • Sword of the Guardian (Legends of Ithyria, #1)
  • The Pyramid Waltz
  • Hidden Truths (The Oregon Series, #2)
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.

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“The stars are the one thing that I miss about the earth. They're so constant, steady, bright. I've always loved the stars. You reminded me of them, Persephone," she added quietly.” 4 likes
“I had loved and lost, and now... Love had found me again, brought me back to life in the land of the dead.” 3 likes
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