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Helen of Sparta

(Helen of Sparta #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  5,127 ratings  ·  457 reviews
Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of The ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
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Elizabeth Moore I admit that I couldn't finish it either even though I am crazy about ancient Roman and Greek history.…moreI admit that I couldn't finish it either even though I am crazy about ancient Roman and Greek history.(less)
Robin The ending makes sense if you know Helen's story and the Trojan War. While I thought the characterization was poor and didn't love the novel, the poin…moreThe ending makes sense if you know Helen's story and the Trojan War. While I thought the characterization was poor and didn't love the novel, the point of it was to explain why Helen makes the fateful choice she does later on, igniting the Trojan War, even though she knew what it would cause. I can see where the ending wouldn't make sense if you don't know anything about the Trojan War though.(less)

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Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never been a fan of Helen, she's the Kim Kardashian of the ancient world. Who would really want to be the most beautiful woman in the world anyway? To drive men so crazy with your looks that they are driven to madness and desperation, wanting to touch you and possess you regardless of your feelings or permission. Not my cup of tea. Carosella brilliantly expounds on this part of the myth, this Helen feels the burden of her beauty and the constraints it puts upon her choices. It's the first t ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Carosella adds to my lifelong fascination with Greek mythology. As you read of Helen, her presence comes to life as do other mythological figureheads included in the narrative, you find yourself asking if these gods and goddesses, legends are nonfiction or fiction, did any exist. Carosella invents such a provoking narrative along with a captivating mythological character with such conviction causing all probability.

Well researched, no doubt Carosella is knowledgable in Greek mythology. Her vivid
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
I've always had a place for the women of the Trojan War--Leda, Helen, Andromache, Cassandra, Clytemnestra, Electra--and have always thought both myth and modern fiction haven't done these women fair justice. Especially Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships, has come down through the ages as both pawn of a bunch of Olympian gods who tended to behave worse than mortals and a prize for a dilletante prince at the expense of his family and his country.

Finally, here's Helen's own stor
I received this book through the Kindle First program, and I will say straight off the bat that only one single thing kept me from rating it five stars: (view spoiler) ...more
Historical Fiction
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I suppose it's only right to confess that I've never liked Helen of Troy. I'm not sure why, but as a character she's never interested me so it should come as no surprise that content was not a huge factor in my decision to read Amalia Carosella's Helen of Sparta. To be honest, my interest in the book was sparked by author Stephanie Thornton. Weeks before Helen of Sparta was available, Thornton made her enthusiasm for the boo
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book free from Kindle First.

Ummmm, WHAT?! I knew the entire time I was reading this book (which was basically nonstop from the moment I got it) that I was going to give it five stars. Historical fiction, well-written romance, Greek mythology, Sparta. All my favs, all in one place! It is paced wonderfully, not too fast and not too slow. It has emotional moments that make your heart ache, your stomach turn, and make you smile like a goof.

Then, for all the closure the "ending" of th
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mythology
Oooo I beta'ed this one a few years ago, and it's SOLID. Amalia really knows her mythology (and her history), and that comes through very clearly. I loved reading about Helen's journey.

Also umm...Theseus. There's lots of wonderful Theseus. Be prepared for swoons, folks.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, 2016
We all know the story of Helen. Paris; Troy; War. This book starts before the more commonly recounted aspects of Helen's story, with the story starting in Sparta whilst her father is seeking a husband for her, and Helen's subsequent flight with Theseus.

The book seeks to give Helen a voice. To show who Helen was, rather than just as a pawn of men. The book didn't necessarily succeed in that for me. The Helen of this book still had her life revolve around men, and the decisions she made were all i
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
**This is a read now on NetGalley!**


This was excellent. It's wonderful to see a Helen that gets to be less passive and more active in her own life.

Review to come.

Recommended for: fans of Stephanie Thornton, Kate Quinn
Review also at Historical Readings & Reviews
ACR through NetGalley, my opinions are my own.

In Greek mythology, before the infamous Trojan War, Helen of Sparta was abducted by Theseus, King of Athens. Based in legend, this novel approaches Helen's 'abduction' with a new take on it, with Helen as a willing participant.

First, I think it should be noted that in my opinion, this is more like historical fantasy than straight up historical fiction. While it's not being marketed that way, there's several
I have read so many Trojan War books in recent years. The market seems to be saturated with them. The law of averages being what it is, of course most of them are mediocre, which has resulted in my growing fatigue with the whole setting. Does Amalia Carosella’s vision of Helen impress? Yes and no.

Carosella puts a fresh spin on events across multiple levels. I was already familiar with the tale of Helen’s abduction by Theseus, but it is often framed as an abominable act, perpetrated by a lecherou
"Men did not claim to be children of gods unless they had the height to prove their words."

This is the second historical retelling I have read and I was not let down, if anything it made me want to read more historical retellings, especially Greek ones!
I would definitely read some Egyptian ones or something too though!

This book follows the story of Helen, who was also a revolving topic in the other book I read (The Song of Achilles ). I was so excited to read a book from her point of view!
1) MASSIVE sibling feelings, though I do wish Clytamnestra had played a more prominent and nuanced role. The same goes for Penelope, so here's hoping that happens in the sequel.

2) Fuck the Atrides forever and ever and ever.

3) I like the spin Carosella put on the original mythology and the attention she paid to the presence of the gods in the mortals' lives, though I feel like she sometimes used all this to prop up Theseus' character, which is not my favourite thing in the world. The constant t
Darcia Helle
In simplest terms, I loved everything about this book.

First, Carosella has a natural gift for storytelling. We're taken on a journey, the story unfolding like a flower, one layer at a time. We get to know the characters as we learn about their lives, their passions, their desires, and their secrets.

I don't think it's necessary to know anything about Greek mythology in order to enjoy this book. The author does an excellent job of including enough detail on the associated gods, goddesses, and myt
Stephanie Thornton
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We all know that Helen's face supposedly launched a thousand ships, but what happened before she ran off with Paris and started Homer's famously recorded Trojan War?

Amalia Carosella has taken the oft-repeated tale and turned it on its head in Helen of Sparta, interweaving well-known myths into a completely new take on the renowned beauty. Here we see a Helen who is determined to thwart the will of the gods, no matter the cost, and who unwittingly stumbles into a love story of her own, not with t
Jenny Q
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book because I loved the idea of Helen of Sparta, not Helen of Troy. What a brilliant idea to tell the story of who Helen was before Paris entered the picture.

Helen of Sparta is very well written, offering a fascinating glimpse into Spartan society. I hadn't been expecting to get so much of Theseus, and I was pleasantly surprised at his relationship with Helen and the strength of his character throughout the story. He's a dreamboat. There's a good cast of supporting character
Taylor Tomassini
..Only recently published, Carosella’s debut novel is a hidden gem. Greek mythology tells us that before Helen’s face “launched 1,000 ships” to Troy, she was stolen away from her home in Sparta by another handsome royal, Theseus, the King of Attica and son of the sea-god Poseidon. But what if she wasn’t kidnapped? What if she actually chose to leave her childhood home to not only pursue love, but to protect her people? That is the premise of Carosella’s Helen of Sparta.

When I was younger, I read
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, spec-fiction

The characters, the language, the story, the portrayal of the gods- this book was everything I could have hoped for.

“I knew my duty to Sparta, to my people.”

“I don’t want to be beautiful,” I said once I’d caught my breath. “I don’t want any of this.”

Helen, Princess of Sparta, daughter of Zeus, has come of age to be married.
However, nightmares and premonitions of fire and ash speak to her of a message, of a war to come.

Over her.

Her acclaimed beauty is known to be something of b
Judith Starkston
Carosella has brought to life an entirely new take on the Helen myth. She has embraced a Helen who takes control of her life and tries to defy fate (and the gods do their darndest, as usual in Greek mythology, to make her and everyone else miserable). In the process she has created an engaging novel. She richly develops the jealousies, passions and loyalties of her characters, as well as bringing the reader directly into the ancient Greek world. I enjoyed the sense of interconnectedness between ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The story of Helen of Sparta/Troy/Egypt is one of those amazing things about Greek Mythology. No two versions are the same, and no two Helens are the same.

This Helen starts long before the story usually starts (with Paris, and a trip to Troy). It shows you Helen as a child, as a young princess on the verge of womanhood, still the most beautiful female in the world, with all the ensuing problems. It's a subject that's particularly close to my heart, and though this is an entirely new version (to
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an absorbing retelling by a talented writer. The characters of myth really come to life. While Helen at times made me want to shake her, Theseus is a leading man worthy of the title "hero" and the supporting characters were all well done. This did not feel like I was reading a fantasy but rather an account of real people who just happened to live at a time when gods played a bigger role.

The ending however is as frustrating as can be!
nikkia neil
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
I've always loved mythology since I was a preteen with mumps and my mom bought me a book of mythology. This is the real deal. Not only is it fresh and well- written, but its got a author who is a scholar so its not a bodice-ripper. Its a adult book don't worry but a well written adult book. ...more
Natalie Norwood
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I beta read this book and it is phenomenal!
Laura Mercer
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Moved along at a good pace. I looked forward to reading it every night.
Naomi Ruth
I really enjoyed this book. Having read Plutarch's version of Theseus I really disliked the man and never thought I would actually fall in love with him as a character. Also, I have always been frustrated/disappointed with Helen as a character, so I loved this.

I was a bit unprepared for the sexual violence that occurs against Helen, which I supposed I should have been prepared for, considering her dreams, (view spoiler)
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Different take on Helen's story

I really enjoyed this new spin on the story of Helen (of Sparta, Troy). It took awhile for me to realize that this story wasn't playing out the way it had in Homer's retelling. I fell in love with Theseus. Looking forward to future installments!
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love stories that take place in Ancient Times. I have a passing knowledge of the Greek myths; I know the basics of most of the more well known tales but must admit that Theseus was unknown to me. Whether I had just lost my knowledge of him or had plain just never heard of him I can’t tell you but I will admit to some googling in the course of reading Helen of Sparta (BTW – is it me or is the Helen of Troy page in Wikipedia way misogynistic? I know Helen was no brain surgeon but I don’t think s ...more
Helen of Sparta is the first book in a duology about the myth of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, who was the cause of the Trojan war. In this first part, however, Amalia Carosella reimages a minor myth concerning Helen, which puts her in contact with Theseus, king of Athens.

Helen is not the most popular woman in Greek mythology, but in this novel Carosella does a great job at characterizing her and making her likeable. She skillfully represents the dangers of having such a power,
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Helen of Sparta carries a heavy weight on her shoulders. She is princess to Sparta, but also the daughter of Zeus. Helen is resented by her mother for how she was conceived; she is also bound to inherit the throne. Helen’s gifts from Zeus not only granted her beauty, but dreams that foresee the future. In a recurring nightmare, she envisions Sparta in flames and the death of her family when she is married to a childhood friend. Determined to escape her fate, Helen makes plans to escape to Athens ...more
Morgan (The Bookish Beagle)
Mood reading at its finest. I started this book in FEBRUARY, read 12%, and.... stopped? I don't know why because I was enjoying it. Like I said, mood reading. In any case, I read the remaining 88% in the last 24 hours and it was a fantastic spin on Helen's tale. I think Ancient Greece/Rome might be my favorite historical period to read about, and I've read my fair share of takes on the Trojan War. Helen of Sparta stands out because of Helen herself- she's so interesting, her character sparkles, ...more
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Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at

She also writ

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70 likes · 6 comments
“Perhaps Zeus was king, but I was Spartan, a princess twice over, and queen of Athens besides. I knew my duty. And I would rule my own fate.” 3 likes
“I did not want to worship gods as cruel as this—gods cruel enough to rape my mother after she objected to being deceived, or willing to waste the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of men in a useless war. I did not want to believe we could not be free.” 2 likes
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