liz's Reviews > Stealing Athena

Stealing Athena by Karen Essex
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Mar 28, 2009

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bookshelves: historical, life-stories, literary
Read in March, 2009

Oh, look - another historical novel centered on women that goes back and forth between two different periods of time! Imagine that! This one centers on Lady Elgin, married, yes, to the man who stole the marbles, and goes back and forth between their time on the Continent and ancient Greece, when the friezes were actually being carved. At first, I preferred the chapters about Lady Elgin. The author's ancient Greece seemed too ponderous to be believable, well-researched as it may have been (and she threw in enough vocab words that you KNOW she did the research). They weren't enjoyable chapters to read. As the book progresses, though, I came to prefer the ancient Greece chapters - not seeming as bogged down by historical accuracy actually freed up the characters to be more interesting. It was a pretty good book, although because of it the first thing I think of whenever I hear Lord Elgin's name will be that he lost his nose to syphilis.

Owing to long walks with his mother and his grandfather, Bruce was becoming adept at identifying the coastal birds, and went into blue mood for an entire day when he saw a stout, black great skua devour a small, defenseless puffin. But being a little gentleman, he hid the reason from his sisters. "They might have bad dreams if they knew, Mother," he told Mary when she went into his room to bring him tea and to comfort him. "Litttle girls love little birds."
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