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Helen's Daughter
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Featured Author Group Reads > FA Group Read #9- Helen’s Daughter (Author Participation)

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message 1: by Jackie (last edited Aug 27, 2013 05:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2416 comments Feel free to discuss the group read here

As a reminder, Laura Gill is able to participate in the discussion in this thread. Click here if you want to discuss the book without author participation.

Remember to mark all spoilers!


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Book Description:
When the Trojan prince Paris abducted Helen of Sparta, she left behind a nine-year-old daughter, Hermione.

Now, years later, the Trojan War is over. Nineteen-year-old Hermione eagerly awaits her father's return, but remains ambivalent toward her mother, even as her world is once again turned upside-down. Can Hermione survive the trials that await, or will she become another victim of the curse that haunts her family?
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Copies of the book can be found at the following retailers:
Amazon.com- Kindle $5.99
Barnes and Noble- Nook $5.99
Smashwords- Various Formats- $5.99


Happy Reading!


Laura Gill | 152 comments Already?


Jackie (thenightowl) | 2416 comments Yup :) September came fast.


message 4: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Storrs | 7 comments Sounds intriguing - I've read about the more famous ill fated Trojan women - Cassandra, Andromache and Hecuba. It will be interesting to read Hermione's story.


Laura Gill | 152 comments Elisabeth wrote: "Sounds intriguing - I've read about the more famous ill fated Trojan women - Cassandra, Andromache and Hecuba. It will be interesting to read Hermione's story."

Cassandra and Andromache make appearances in the novel.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I am really looking forward to a book in this period.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -36 comments I have already read it. I can attest to the fact that Laura Gill has done plenty of research.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I am curious about her work now. Does Laura Gill have a website?


Laura Gill | 152 comments Alexandra wrote: "I am curious about her work now. Does Laura Gill have a website?"

I don't have a website, but I do have a blog at http://helens-daughter.livejournal.com


message 10: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Andersen | 8 comments I'm fairly new to this historical fiction group, but this book sounds intriguing. I love historical fiction that features lesser known characters.


message 11: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Storrs | 7 comments Laura wrote: "Elisabeth wrote: "Sounds intriguing - I've read about the more famous ill fated Trojan women - Cassandra, Andromache and Hecuba. It will be interesting to read Hermione's story."

Cassandra and And..."


It must have been a challenge to deal with such a well known story - Madeline Miller faced the same challenge with Song of Achilles. I'm looking forward to reading Helen's daughter:)


message 12: by Laura (last edited Sep 01, 2013 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Gill | 152 comments Elisabeth wrote: "Laura wrote: "Elisabeth wrote: "Sounds intriguing - I've read about the more famous ill fated Trojan women - Cassandra, Andromache and Hecuba. It will be interesting to read Hermione's story."

Cas..."


The Greek myths often contradict each other, as do the various Classical plays written about them. It's a matter of sorting through all the material and extrapolating. It's a bit like piecing together an ancient pottery jar where some pieces are missing. For example, we don't know anything about Hermione's adolescent years at Mycenae, so the question becomes what was her life there mostly likely to have been like? How would she have gotten along with her cousins? With Clytaemnestra? With, gods forbid, Aegisthus? Would she have felt comfortable, or afraid?


message 13: by Mandy (last edited Sep 05, 2013 12:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mandy (fairymonkey) So far I'm enjoying the book. I get a little lost about the goddess Dia though. I've never heard of her and can find little information about her. I was a Greek mythology buff at one point, so it stands out to me. Otherwise, I'm really addicted to the story and impressed with what the author has done with the many pieces of story surrounding this time!

(Also, this is my first group read, so feel free to tell me if I need to hide information, I'm doing this wrong, or anything else like that in my posts)


Laura Gill | 152 comments Mandy wrote: "So far I'm enjoying the book. I get a little lost about the goddess Dia though. I've never heard of her and can find little information about her. I was a Greek mythology buff at one point, so it ..."

Dia is the female counterpart of Diwios/Zeus. She's found on Linear B tablets as Diwia. You could say she's Gaia, the Great Goddess, with various aspects: Hera, Athena, Artemis, etc.


Jackie (thenightowl) | 2416 comments I'm currently reading this one too. I like reading these types of stories because it makes my family seem so damn normal!

Laura, Hermoine mentions the house snake several times. What was the purpose of the house snake and was it kept in a cage or special room? From the text it seemed like there was some kind of ritual associated with the snake rather than it being a pet.


Mandy (fairymonkey) Jackie wrote: "I like reading these types of stories because it makes my family seem so damn normal!"
*lol* Maybe that is why I like them too! :D


message 17: by Laura (last edited Sep 05, 2013 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Gill | 152 comments Jackie wrote: "I'm currently reading this one too. I like reading these types of stories because it makes my family seem so damn normal!

Laura, Hermoine mentions the house snake several times. What was the purp..."


The house snake is a lucky snake that takes up residence on your property. Snakes were seen as divine messengers because they burrow underground, and as symbols of rebirth because they shed their skin. Coiled ceramic snakes were found in the Cult House at Mycenae, but the Mycenaeans probably kept real ones, too. They might have been kept in jars in a sanctuary, or, in more rural areas, allowed to shelter under a special rock. Later in the story, Hermione mentions the omphalos, or navel stone, in the courtyard of the sanctuary at Therapne, where the sacred house snake dwells.


Jackie (thenightowl) | 2416 comments Interesting. I finished this one earlier today. Really enjoyed it!
One of the things I found most fascinating about the book were the many rituals. It seemed like there was a ritual for everything. It definitely shows off your research.

I do have a question about Helen- (view spoiler)


message 19: by Laura (last edited Sep 09, 2013 07:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Gill | 152 comments Jackie wrote: "Interesting. I finished this one earlier today. Really enjoyed it!
One of the things I found most fascinating about the book were the many rituals. It seemed like there was a ritual for everything...."


I portrayed Helen the way I did because no one else has, and because it's the last thing the reader (and Hermione) expects. Helen as a capricious, empty-headed sexpot really irks me for some reason.


Glad you liked it.


Debra Giuffrida | 24 comments Hello! Is it too late to participate? I just downloaded the book. As I am writing a novel with Helen of Troy I am very interested in some of her backstory.


Laura Gill | 152 comments Debra wrote: "Hello! Is it too late to participate? I just downloaded the book. As I am writing a novel with Helen of Troy I am very interested in some of her backstory."

Anyone interested in writing a novel about Helen should read Bettany Hughes's amazing study of Helen: Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore.


Debra Giuffrida | 24 comments Thank you Laura. Actually I have an interesting take on dear Helen of Sparta that may make scholars eyes roll but then that is why we write fiction. But I will check out your recommendation! Thank you.


message 23: by Laura (last edited Sep 09, 2013 11:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Gill | 152 comments For those interested in a bit of irreverence after the seriousness of this book and the books in the Orestes Trilogy, I have a Twitter account as @oresteshighking. Anachronisms abound from the viewpoint of an uncouth, hot-blooded Mycenaean wanax whose sister Elektra is more terrifying than he is.

The playing around may seem unprofessional from a authorial standpoint, but it's a pressure-release valve when writing scenes that are just too heavy. The Orestes books were like that, and the chapter of Knossos (Thera) that I'm working on now is the same way. One needs to be able to laugh at the Age of Heroes.


Laura Gill | 152 comments Debra wrote: "Thank you Laura. Actually I have an interesting take on dear Helen of Sparta that may make scholars eyes roll but then that is why we write fiction. But I will check out your recommendation! Thank ..."

Anyone writing about Helen needs to go back to the sources, and that's what Hughes's book provides. She collects all the material about Helen and analyzes it. If you're going to understand what makes Helen, Helen, you need to know that part.

Debra, if someone asks you about your Helen, will you be able to justify her actions/character, etc? She doesn't have to be historically accurate--the question is, will she make sense to a reader?

I've encountered some beginning writers who don't want to do the research, or who do just enough of it to get into trouble, and argue that "it's just fiction. Who's going to notice?" Aaaargh! Don't be like the wannabe teenage fantasy writer who writes about dragons while using D&D Gaming Manuals as a serious reference!

Phillipa Gregory and Michelle Moran have that effect on me. They write popular books, but the fact-checking, or lack thereof, make me bang my head against the wall in despair.


Debra Giuffrida | 24 comments I have been researching since 1998. As to what makes Helen Helen I _have_ gone back to the sources. But not Homer. Homer is a man and he sees women as a Hellene. No, I think you will like my Helen. She is neither sexpot nor weeping martyr. She walks willingly into her fate. But what that fate is, well you will just have to read my book.
Here is my blog url where I have posted a few snips: www.reluctantauthor.blogspot.com I hope you will see that I am not just any beginning author who will fall down the rabbit hole of poor research. I don't do teenage fantasy, I don't do Michelle Moran or Phillipa Gregory. Please don't put me in that group. My historical writer heros are more in line with Judith Tarr, Pauline Gedge and Mary Renault. But then I usually write about Ancient Egypt. Thus, my Helen ends up in Egypt.
Thank you for your worry, I hope you will find it is unwarranted.


message 26: by Laura (last edited Sep 10, 2013 10:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Gill | 152 comments Debra wrote: "I have been researching since 1998. As to what makes Helen Helen I _have_ gone back to the sources. But not Homer. Homer is a man and he sees women as a Hellene. No, I think you will like my Helen...."

Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that. I just got the impression from your posts that you were just starting your research/writing.

I love Pauline Gedge, too, and have read all her novels set in ancient Egypt, except one, I think. It's a shame she isn't more popular. And Mary Renault is awesome, especially The King Must Die.


Debra Giuffrida | 24 comments That's OK...I understand. I wasn't upset just wanted to clarify my position.
My favorite time in Ancient Egypt is the 18th Dynasty as well as the Ptolemy period. Duncan Sprott did a very interesting job chronicling that family. Have you had the pleasure?
But back to Helen. I look forward to reading your book due to the fact you sound like me...unwilling to settle for the usual drivel that is titled Historical Fiction. Of that I am grateful!


message 28: by Ayla (new) - added it

Ayla Feasel (bookwormx3) | 25 comments so i usually borrow whatever book i'm interested in reading and if i like it i buy it however when i went to get this particular book yesterday my local library only had the ebook for kindle =\


message 29: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin I just finished and really enjoyed it. I actually didn't even know Helen had a daughter. I took a Greek mytholpgy class in college and really enjoyed that too.


Laura Gill | 152 comments Erin wrote: "I just finished and really enjoyed it. I actually didn't even know Helen had a daughter. I took a Greek mytholpgy class in college and really enjoyed that too."

I'm glad you liked it.


Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 242 comments I didn't do this book during the Group Read, but I finally got around to reading it this month. My brain pretty much exploded over how much I loved it. Here's my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Laura Gill | 152 comments L.M. wrote: "I didn't do this book during the Group Read, but I finally got around to reading it this month. My brain pretty much exploded over how much I loved it. Here's my review: https://www.goodreads.co..."

Thanks, L.M. I didn't set out to demonize Clytemnestra, because I don't see her as a villain in the same sense as Aegisthus. Rather, I was working from the standpoint that she is embittered by her forced marriage to Agamemnon and the death of her daughter. Her stance toward Hermione comes from Euripides's Iphigenia at Aulis when Clytaemnestra tells Agamemnon, "..or Menelaus, inasmuch as it was his concern, should have slain Hermione for her mother. As it is, I, who still am true to thee, must lose my child."


Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 242 comments Oh, I totally get what you did with Clytemnestra. I just didn't understand why all the characters had no sympathy for her. :( Everybody in her world demonized her and none of the other characters felt anything for her but contempt, when I thought everything she did was totally understandable. Poor lady!!


Laura Gill | 152 comments L.M. wrote: "Oh, I totally get what you did with Clytemnestra. I just didn't understand why all the characters had no sympathy for her. :( Everybody in her world demonized her and none of the other character..."

As I recall, the priestess Polycaste had sympathy for her.


Laura Gill | 152 comments For those who want a paperback edition of the book, it is now available through Amazon. It also includes a family tree, which was absent from the digital version, as well as a map.


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