Aphrodite's Blessing

( 15 )

Overview

The goddess Aphrodite was adored and feared by gods and mortals alike; none were immune to her power. Young lovers offered gifts and prayers to her, the goddess of love and beauty, in hopes of receiving her blessings....

Content as one of the best athletes in her father's kingdom, Atalanta rebels against attempts at an arranged marriage. What she doesn't know is that Aphrodite has given her blessing to a race that will change everything.

Then ...

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Overview

The goddess Aphrodite was adored and feared by gods and mortals alike; none were immune to her power. Young lovers offered gifts and prayers to her, the goddess of love and beauty, in hopes of receiving her blessings....

Content as one of the best athletes in her father's kingdom, Atalanta rebels against attempts at an arranged marriage. What she doesn't know is that Aphrodite has given her blessing to a race that will change everything.

Then there is Andromeda whose beauty rivals that of any goddess. She is devastated by her father's choice of a husband but Aphrodite has another plan for her too.

Finally, nobody wants to marry the beautiful Psyche. A mysterious suitor is finally found, but Aprhrodite decrees that Psyche must descend into Hades to earn his love.

In three love stories spun from Greek myths, Clemence McLaren, author of Inside the Walls of Troy and Waiting for Odysseus, presents these new retellings — with all their longing, hope, fear, and love — from the woman's point of view.

Atalanta, Andromeda, and Psyche, three female characters in Greek mythology, tell the stories of their marriages. Includes information on love and marriage in ancient Greece.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this trilogy of love stories Greek myths expertly retold with a feminist slant McLaren (Waiting for Odysseus) brings to life three heroines, Atalanta, Andromeda and Psyche, and shows how each obtains a worthy mate. Romance links the stories, but it is not of the hearts-and-flowers variety. Themes regarding the repression of women and their secret yearnings for independence add an element of sharpness even as happy endings prevent these sagas from becoming unpleasantly bitter. In "Running from Love," for example, Atalanta's athletic skills and unorthodox views earn her a reputation as "a freak of nature." Caring more about self-preservation than others' opinions, she literally outruns her suitors to avoid the prison of marriage. Andromeda and Psyche are less rebellious. They reluctantly succumb to grim fates of loveless unions until supernatural forces unexpectedly intervene. McLaren endows her classical protagonists with new dimensions, making them vulnerable yet courageous, compassionate yet steel-willed. She artfully preserves the ambience of myth while offering an insightful glimpse of women struggling in a male-dominated world. A thoughtful afterword explores the status of upper-class women in real-life ancient Greece, identifies some of McLaren's sources and explains her variations on them. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
It's hard to find a Greek myth with a really happy ending, but McLaren has managed this feat in her stories of Atalanta, Andromeda and Psyche. Although her afterward adds details that take a little of the shine from the bliss, these retellings stand on their own for what the author is truly intending to do¾cast light on the status of Greek women in bygone eras. Atalanta's story is perhaps the most gratifying. Here is a gifted young woman athlete doomed to race her unwanted suitors to the death, until clever Milanion tricks from her Atalanta's final victory¾and her willing hand in marriage. For marriage is what these young women are raised for and what they must learn to accept in order to live within their world. McLaren recounts their plights with intelligence, grace and charm. 2002, Atheneum, $16.00. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
VOYA
Hot-pink cover, bas relief figures of a pair gazing lovingly at each other while holding a heart between them, love stories involving teenagers—what more could the teen romance fan want? Faced with life's challenges as they mature, three Grecian teenagers receive help with romance here from Aphrodite, goddess of love. Each girl tells her own story. Atalanta embraces her tomboy athleticism until her father forces her to run races against her potential suitors—if she wins, the suitors are put to death—before she realizes that she will never lose a race until she meets her true love. Andromeda is urged to sacrifice herself to a sea monster after her mother, Queen Cassiopea, boasts to the gods of her daughter's beauty. When Aphrodite sends Perseus to slay the sea monster and protect Andromeda, the girl recognizes that her savior is her genuine love. Psyche is blessed with a beauty that exceeds Aphrodite's, so the goddess sends her son, Eros, to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly suitor. Captivated by Psyche's beauty, however, Eros falls in love with her himself. Aphrodite challenges Psyche to complete four tasks before she allows the pair to come together and makes Psyche a goddess. This one-volume trilogy of retold myths is wonderful for teens who are interested in Greco-Roman myths, functioning also as a complementary text for the classroom. McLaren does a fantastic job illustrating how confusing romance and love can be for teens. The three mythological teens echo some teens typical today—the tomboy, the shy girl, and the beauty queen. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Atheneum/S & S,
— Kimberlee Ried
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-In a lively style, McLaren faithfully retells three myths from the viewpoint of each young heroine. Atalanta, the most unconventional of the three, is an Arcadian girl whose athletic prowess challenges prevailing norms of beauty, and who dreads the confinement and short leash of marriage. She tries to dissuade suitors from racing her to their deaths, but a Thracian challenger wins the contest and her heart after describing the relative freedom of northern women. Andromeda is a pawn in an unappealing diplomatic game when the oracles decree her wedding to a monster instead. Perseus, the hero of whom she has dreamed, rescues her just in time. These two young women are resentful but still largely accepting of the fates and are rescued by males. Psyche, though, makes her own mistakes and pays for them herself. Her tale is the briefest, but in many ways the richest: her husband (Eros) acknowledges that he, too, shares the blame for their problems. In each story, McLaren reveals the kernel of wisdom that continues to nourish readers. An afterword adds more narrative framing as well as information about marriage in ancient Greece. For classroom reading or as a substitute for popular romances, this collection entices readers with the fresh vision and original voice that distinguished McLaren's Inside the Walls of Troy (Atheneum, 1996).-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
McLaren (Waiting for Odysseus, 2000, etc.) chooses Atalanta, Andromeda, and Psyche for her contemporary retellings of fates touched by Aphrodite's hand. Told in the first person, each offers the basic story, but from a woman's point of view. Atalanta loves to run, and hates the confines of women's usual lives in Arcadia. But she is horrified when she learns that the young men she bests in racing will be put to death. It is the prince Milanion from Thrace who tosses exquisite golden apples in her path as they run. She cannot resist their charms from Aphrodite, and he wins the race, and, happily, her hand. Andromeda is sacrificed to the sea monster for her mother's witless vanity, and rescued by the hero Perseus, whom she had seen in her dreams. And Psyche's happiness is poisoned by her sisters, who tempt her to betray her loving Eros's trust and seek to look at him in the light-she loses Eros then, but regains him and even gains his mother Aphrodite's grudging approval. The modern idiom sometimes jars, and sometimes is cliched, but the stories survive their transport to the language of Xena and Britney. An author's note details some of the changes made in the interests of both storytelling and romance. (Myth/folklore. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416978602
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 5/5/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,425,727
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 0.48 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 5.00 (d)

Meet the Author

These three love stories were my first retellings from Greek mythology, written when I was teaching on the island of Maui," Clemence McLaren says. "At the time, I was telling my Hawaiian students these myths from other islands half a world and three thousand years away, and they encouraged me to write them down.

"Now, fifteen years later, I find that the best thing about being a writer is getting letters from young readers, especially young women. They often find in my retellings the voices of those that were silenced in the ancient stories.

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Read an Excerpt

Running from Love

Atalanta's Story

Chapter One

A marriage offer started the series of death races that have made me famous. I always tried to talk them out of running against me. "Be reasonable," I would say. "What you have to gain is not worth losing your life." But they were so sure they could outrun me, a mere girl. And after that first foolish challenge, no one could have stopped the athletes from coming to compete, as word spread throughout Greece of the ultimate running contest — with a kingdom for a prize and death to the loser.

My father was too shrewd to turn away the young men willing to risk everything, or the thousands who came to see them race. On challenge days there were dancing bears, poets creating ballads, traders from the Orient with spices and precious stones. I would be watching from a high window in the women's quarters, fighting down the nausea. But I'm getting ahead of my story. I want to set the record straight. I'll begin at the beginning.

My mother died giving birth to me. I was the only child of Iasius, king of Arcadia. Naturally, my father wanted a son, and against the advice of his ministers, he made a substitute of me. I wore the short tunic of the athlete in training. I learned to throw the javelin and the discus, to hunt wild boar in the mountains, and when I was small, to wrestle in the courtyard with the sons of the noblemen, my body glistening with scented oil.

Above all, I learned to run. My best memories are of rising on a pink winter dawn and setting out across rolling hills, the silver leaves of the olive trees glistening in the thin sunshine. Blood pumped through my veins, warming me as I settled into my stride, and there was no sound but the thump of my feet against the earth. Alone in the hills, with the backdrop of mountain and distant sea, I raced with nature, with the wind and trees and yesterday's moon. I felt as if I could run forever.

I was rarely allowed to enjoy this solitary escape. Most mornings I reported at dawn for training at the gymnasium. No one dared oppose the king's wish to turn me into an athlete, but my coaches offered encouragement with their mouths while disapproval shone from their eyes. I wonder why my father never saw it.

The runners I trained with didn't miss a chance to trip me at the starting line, or make jokes about my girl's body. True, I could have reported their insults, but I never did. Underneath, I knew I didn't belong there, sharing their pastimes. So I hid my anger and shame and dreamed of that day when, if I worked hard enough, I might become part of their world. After all, I had much more in common with the young athletes than with girls my age, who sat in the shade with their embroidery, gossiping and giggling over marriage offers. And sometimes gossiping and giggling over me.

My cousin Filomena and her friends considered me a freak of nature. I knew this because I overheard them one day in the women's courtyard. They were curling their hair into ringlets, a tiresome procedure that took all afternoon.

"She's tall as a boy," one of them whispered, "and brown as a peasant."

"And her hair..." My cousin Filomena saw me then and cupped her hand over her mouth.

I walked past them with long strides. Let them laugh, I told myself. I had better things to do than twist rags into my hair. I usually brushed it away from my face and tied it with a ribbon at the base of my neck, but when I raced, it often worked free and streamed out behind me.

Both hair curling and embroidery had to do with pleasing a husband. Here, too, I had nothing in common with my cousin and her friends, even though I was fifteen, of marriage age, just as they were: Fifteen was not too young to produce sons. And how silly they were about the mating ritual — the sidelong glances exchanged in the courtyard, the whispered messages behind stone columns — while upstairs in the palace fathers argued over dowry.

Aunt Marusha, my father's sister, had recently taken up the chore of getting me married.

"You're never going to get a husband if you don't learn to weave and embroider," she would remind me. "And stop running around in that disgraceful tunic."

I enjoyed arguing with her. "That's not so," I would say. "We both know I'm a prize in the marriage market, even if I never embroider a stitch."

This truth gave me no joy, and, more and more, I found myself worrying about my own excellent prospects. On the day following this particular argument, I brought up the problem with my tutor, Nestor, in the middle of a philosophy lesson.

"None of them would want me if it weren't for the kingdom they'll inherit by marrying me," I told him.

"Well, well, well," Nestor said, setting down the scroll he'd been reading. "Is that what's distracting you. This marriage business?"

Nestor was an elderly Athenian who taught me mathematics and philosophy after my training at the gymnasium. He was short and round, with a fringe of white hair and eyes that were always sad, even when he smiled. He was also my friend, the only person who ever really talked to me.

"My cousin makes jokes about my muscles," I said, stretching my long, tan legs. "My aunt says no man would want a girl with legs like these. Not that you can ever see their legs," I added with a laugh, thinking of the trailing robes worn by our women, the kind my aunt Marusha wanted me to wear.

Nestor sat looking at me for a long time. It was that heavy hour of late afternoon that's no good for anything but dreaming, and I was used to his silences. I waited, hoping he would find words for my fears.

"You don't know how beautiful you are," he finally said. "No one has allowed you to see yourself. Your tall, graceful form, your dark hair flying behind you as you run..." He paused, pinching his chin. "I think perhaps they're scared to death of you, all those would-be suitors. You challenge their reality."

The word "reality" reminded Nestor of our abandoned philosophy lesson — we'd been talking about whether one can ever know what is real — and I was left to ponder his remarks in silence. Me beautiful? And what did he mean about challenging their reality? Like most philosophers, Nestor was better at asking questions than at answering them. And in the end he was wrong about one thing. The men in our kingdom were not scared to death of me. But they should have been.

I, too, should have seen what was coming.

I should have noticed how, increasingly, Aunt Marusha would nag my father about what I'd become with his encouragement.

"Just because Zeus has not given you a son, you have no right to turn Atalanta into a substitute," she would say, pursing her thin lips into a network of wrinkles. "It's not natural for a girl to be an athlete. To run around half naked. People are talking."

He laughed at her lectures. "My daughter is a better athlete than most of the sons in this kingdom. They're all jealous!"

My father had been a champion runner in his youth. Since he'd become a spectator, he was even more obsessed with sporting contests. In our state, athletes were honored above all others. So in spite of my aunt's resistance, my father seemed content to monitor my progress as a runner. And I foolishly believed it might be enough for him if I could become the best in our kingdom.

A month before I turned sixteen, I ran my two best times. My father was thrilled with my progress. When he summoned me on the morning of my birthday, I thought he wanted to discuss the coming regional games, and that he might finally allow me to attend. I was smiling as I approached his throne. Father was a handsome man, tall, with hair turning silver at the temples, and a full beard he was quite vain about. I remember thinking he looked exactly the way a king is supposed to look.

I didn't know that his advisers, who were seated around him, were calling me a disgrace to the kingdom. Rather than see a woman rule, they were threatening to put a cousin on the throne after his death.

"We have to talk about marriage," he told me, glancing at his nobles. "They fear a civil war if I die without a male heir."

I hung my head, searching for arguments. "What about the games next month?"

"There will be no more games." He nodded at me and cleared his throat. "It's time, Atalanta."

Excuses raced through my head. Could I remind him of the oracle who had prophesied that marriage would be the end of me? No, my father assured me that such predictions could be averted, with sacrifices to the right gods. But the oracle's words had terrified me — still terrified me.

I took a deep breath, just as I had learned to do to ease my panic before a race. I turned to the ministers, who were watching with satisfaction. I wanted to shout at them, "How can I become the bride of one of the nobles who mocks me every day at the gymnasium? How could I no longer be allowed to run!"

"I can't," I whispered.

Father was frowning, impatient. "We've had offers from all the best families, so many that my advisers are concerned about dissension within the kingdom. We have to find some way of selecting one without offending the others." He sighed heavily.

"Ah, Atalanta, would that we could go back to the days when our biggest problem was to take two seconds off your starting time."

"I can't," I said, louder this time.

"Come now, you act as if we're talking of selling you into slavery."

I looked up, eyes wide. That was exactly what we were talking about. And I realized with a shock that he was never going to understand. He was a man.

Copyright © 2002 by Clemence McLaren

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Table of Contents

Contents

Running from Love

Atalanta's Story

Dreams of a Golden Hero

Andromeda's Story

For the Love of a God

Psyche's Story

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First Chapter

Running from Love
Atalanta's Story

Chapter One

A marriage offer started the series of death races that have made me famous. I always tried to talk them out of running against me. "Be reasonable," I would say. "What you have to gain is not worth losing your life." But they were so sure they could outrun me, a mere girl. And after that first foolish challenge, no one could have stopped the athletes from coming to compete, as word spread throughout Greece of the ultimate running contest — with a kingdom for a prize and death to the loser.

My father was too shrewd to turn away the young men willing to risk everything, or the thousands who came to see them race. On challenge days there were dancing bears, poets creating ballads, traders from the Orient with spices and precious stones. I would be watching from a high window in the women's quarters, fighting down the nausea. But I'm getting ahead of my story. I want to set the record straight. I'll begin at the beginning.

My mother died giving birth to me. I was the only child of Iasius, king of Arcadia. Naturally, my father wanted a son, and against the advice of his ministers, he made a substitute of me. I wore the short tunic of the athlete in training. I learned to throw the javelin and the discus, to hunt wild boar in the mountains, and when I was small, to wrestle in the courtyard with the sons of the noblemen, my body glistening with scented oil.

Above all, I learned to run. My best memories are of rising on a pink winter dawn and setting out across rolling hills, the silver leaves of the olive trees glistening in the thin sunshine. Blood pumped through my veins, warming meas I settled into my stride, and there was no sound but the thump of my feet against the earth. Alone in the hills, with the backdrop of mountain and distant sea, I raced with nature, with the wind and trees and yesterday's moon. I felt as if I could run forever.

I was rarely allowed to enjoy this solitary escape. Most mornings I reported at dawn for training at the gymnasium. No one dared oppose the king's wish to turn me into an athlete, but my coaches offered encouragement with their mouths while disapproval shone from their eyes. I wonder why my father never saw it.

The runners I trained with didn't miss a chance to trip me at the starting line, or make jokes about my girl's body. True, I could have reported their insults, but I never did. Underneath, I knew I didn't belong there, sharing their pastimes. So I hid my anger and shame and dreamed of that day when, if I worked hard enough, I might become part of their world. After all, I had much more in common with the young athletes than with girls my age, who sat in the shade with their embroidery, gossiping and giggling over marriage offers. And sometimes gossiping and giggling over me.

My cousin Filomena and her friends considered me a freak of nature. I knew this because I overheard them one day in the women's courtyard. They were curling their hair into ringlets, a tiresome procedure that took all afternoon.

"She's tall as a boy," one of them whispered, "and brown as a peasant."

"And her hair..." My cousin Filomena saw me then and cupped her hand over her mouth.

I walked past them with long strides. Let them laugh, I told myself. I had better things to do than twist rags into my hair. I usually brushed it away from my face and tied it with a ribbon at the base of my neck, but when I raced, it often worked free and streamed out behind me.

Both hair curling and embroidery had to do with pleasing a husband. Here, too, I had nothing in common with my cousin and her friends, even though I was fifteen, of marriage age, just as they were: Fifteen was not too young to produce sons. And how silly they were about the mating ritual — the sidelong glances exchanged in the courtyard, the whispered messages behind stone columns — while upstairs in the palace fathers argued over dowry.

Aunt Marusha, my father's sister, had recently taken up the chore of getting me married.

"You're never going to get a husband if you don't learn to weave and embroider," she would remind me. "And stop running around in that disgraceful tunic."

I enjoyed arguing with her. "That's not so," I would say. "We both know I'm a prize in the marriage market, even if I never embroider a stitch."

This truth gave me no joy, and, more and more, I found myself worrying about my own excellent prospects. On the day following this particular argument, I brought up the problem with my tutor, Nestor, in the middle of a philosophy lesson.

"None of them would want me if it weren't for the kingdom they'll inherit by marrying me," I told him.

"Well, well, well," Nestor said, setting down the scroll he'd been reading. "Is that what's distracting you. This marriage business?"

Nestor was an elderly Athenian who taught me mathematics and philosophy after my training at the gymnasium. He was short and round, with a fringe of white hair and eyes that were always sad, even when he smiled. He was also my friend, the only person who ever really talked to me.

"My cousin makes jokes about my muscles," I said, stretching my long, tan legs. "My aunt says no man would want a girl with legs like these. Not that you can ever see their legs," I added with a laugh, thinking of the trailing robes worn by our women, the kind my aunt Marusha wanted me to wear.

Nestor sat looking at me for a long time. It was that heavy hour of late afternoon that's no good for anything but dreaming, and I was used to his silences. I waited, hoping he would find words for my fears.

"You don't know how beautiful you are," he finally said. "No one has allowed you to see yourself. Your tall, graceful form, your dark hair flying behind you as you run..." He paused, pinching his chin. "I think perhaps they're scared to death of you, all those would-be suitors. You challenge their reality."

The word "reality" reminded Nestor of our abandoned philosophy lesson — we'd been talking about whether one can ever know what is real — and I was left to ponder his remarks in silence. Me beautiful? And what did he mean about challenging their reality? Like most philosophers, Nestor was better at asking questions than at answering them. And in the end he was wrong about one thing. The men in our kingdom were not scared to death of me. But they should have been.

I, too, should have seen what was coming.

I should have noticed how, increasingly, Aunt Marusha would nag my father about what I'd become with his encouragement.

"Just because Zeus has not given you a son, you have no right to turn Atalanta into a substitute," she would say, pursing her thin lips into a network of wrinkles. "It's not natural for a girl to be an athlete. To run around half naked. People are talking."

He laughed at her lectures. "My daughter is a better athlete than most of the sons in this kingdom. They're all jealous!"

My father had been a champion runner in his youth. Since he'd become a spectator, he was even more obsessed with sporting contests. In our state, athletes were honored above all others. So in spite of my aunt's resistance, my father seemed content to monitor my progress as a runner. And I foolishly believed it might be enough for him if I could become the best in our kingdom.

A month before I turned sixteen, I ran my two best times. My father was thrilled with my progress. When he summoned me on the morning of my birthday, I thought he wanted to discuss the coming regional games, and that he might finally allow me to attend. I was smiling as I approached his throne. Father was a handsome man, tall, with hair turning silver at the temples, and a full beard he was quite vain about. I remember thinking he looked exactly the way a king is supposed to look.

I didn't know that his advisers, who were seated around him, were calling me a disgrace to the kingdom. Rather than see a woman rule, they were threatening to put a cousin on the throne after his death.

"We have to talk about marriage," he told me, glancing at his nobles. "They fear a civil war if I die without a male heir."

I hung my head, searching for arguments. "What about the games next month?"

"There will be no more games." He nodded at me and cleared his throat. "It's time, Atalanta."

Excuses raced through my head. Could I remind him of the oracle who had prophesied that marriage would be the end of me? No, my father assured me that such predictions could be averted, with sacrifices to the right gods. But the oracle's words had terrified me — still terrified me.

I took a deep breath, just as I had learned to do to ease my panic before a race. I turned to the ministers, who were watching with satisfaction. I wanted to shout at them, "How can I become the bride of one of the nobles who mocks me every day at the gymnasium? How could I no longer be allowed to run!"

"I can't," I whispered.

Father was frowning, impatient. "We've had offers from all the best families, so many that my advisers are concerned about dissension within the kingdom. We have to find some way of selecting one without offending the others." He sighed heavily.

"Ah, Atalanta, would that we could go back to the days when our biggest problem was to take two seconds off your starting time."

"I can't," I said, louder this time.

"Come now, you act as if we're talking of selling you into slavery."

I looked up, eyes wide. That was exactly what we were talking about. And I realized with a shock that he was never going to understand. He was a man.

Copyright © 2002 by Clemence McLaren

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    First book i loved

    This was one of the first books i fell in love with. I used to hate reading and no books interested me. But when i read this i realized that i do like to read. I just had to find the right books. I can really get into McLaren's writing. It keeps me interested and i can picture the story in my head so well. I love this book. I've read it 4 or 5 times and i'm thinking of reading it again soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    Kept My Heart Racing for the End

    I just finished the book, and I must say that I actually liked Atalanta's story the best because it was energetic and it kept me interested. Then it kind of went downhill, but still, it started out with 'Great! I love this book!' to 'It's pretty good', so that's not a big drop.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    Aphrodite's Blessing

    Aphrodite's Blessing is a very interesting book. I usually get really bored reading books, but with this one, I was excited to do my school reading. I loved the stories that Clemence Mclaren and Robert Goldstrom wrote. They all were very romantic, and left my heart tingling with love. I highly recommend you to read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    Aphrodite's Blessing

    I thought this book was wonderfully written. There were many twists and turns and parts that motivated me to keep on reading. I loved the intense parts and when all of the princesses found her true love. This book truly made me smile and I recommended it to all the heart-throbs out there. :]

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Aphrodite's Blessings: An enjoyable read.

    I was extremely pleased when I found out that I was to read 'Aphrodite's Blessings' as my literature circle book. Before reading, I looked the book up online and researched some reviews from other readers. Many of the reviews stated that they enjoyed reading a book where the females were intelligent and thoughtful. I could not agree more! This easy read grabbed my attention from the very first sentence of the first of three stories, 'A marriage offer started the series of death races that have made me famous,' (page 3). The author, Clemence McLaren, did a fantastic job of creating the sharp ironicalness between the ancient Greece setting and the dominant female heroines. Unlike the true ancient Greece, the female protagonists of this book were extremely dominant, powerful, and independent. Although in ancient Greece, women were not allowed to take part in half of the activities men were. Therefore, this book would be a great choice for all ages of girls who love reading of strong feminists. In addition, this trilogy of stories would be an extraordinary choice for all who love to read romance novels. Each story within the book centered on love. The first story of Atalanta revolves around her fear of arranged marriage. Atalanta, the only female athlete of her kingdom, is an extremely talented runner. Therefore, her father sets up races for her love. Atalanta literally runs from marriage, until she meets that special man who she falls in love with. Next comes Andromeda. Andromeda is to wed Fineus against her will. Because her mother, the queen of their kingdom, compares her beauty to the daughters of Poseidon, the gods force Andromeda to be sacrificed to a sea monster. She falls in love with her rescuer. Last is Psyche. Psyche is a young girl of marriage age, although she has not received any marriage offers. Because of this, her father relies on an oracle. The oracle states that Psyche is to marry a man she does not know by sacrificing herself. She finally meets her husband, but cannot physically see him, although she does love him. Her sisters become worried and toy with her mind, causing her to disobey her husband. Because of her love, Psyche then does everything in her power to receive the love of her husband back. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. Like most of the other readers of this book, I love reading about independent females and love therefore, I was drawn in immediately. This book was extremely easy to read, so I finished it quite quickly. I only gave it a rating of four stars because of its easiness. If it had been a little more challenging, or just a bit longer, it would have gotten all five stars! In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    a different outlook on mythology

    I thought that 'Aphrodite's Blessing' was an interesting read with some unexpexted plot lines. Usually when I think of Greek Mythology, I think of violent wars and long mysterious journeys. When I was assigned to read this book for school, I was pleasently suprised. It was not like that all. I felt as if i could relate to these cliche but intriging love stories, but also i had never heard anything like them. I would definantly recommend this book for anyone who does or does not like to read Greek Mythogogy, because there is alittle something for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Entertaining

    I thought that this book was quite enjoyable. The stories capture your attention with their unique plots and the deep moral decisions that the characters are forced to make. Although somewhat cliche, the romance in the stories introduce modern ideas of love into a society based on arranged marriages. While they may not be too exciting, at least give them a chance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    Enthralling, but not so exciting

    Aphrodite's Blessing is a collection of three tales from the time of the ancient Greeks, pertaining to the goddess Aphrodite and the power of love. I thought that the book had many splendid life lessons like believing in love, and to never lose hope in the face of adversity. However, as an overall book, the plot was a little weak. The conflicts were a little dull and most of the book was simply speculation and foreshadowing by the characters of what to come. Personally, it was a book worth reading, but only on a bus or plane, and not the first book I would pick at home in my spare time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    If you are someone who like to read romance stories with a happy ending, I would recommend that you read this book. It's a well written story thatc make Greek characters come to life. Most Greek romance stories are usually short with unhappy ending. However, this book would leave the readers with a smile on their face when they are done. This book would be great for both male and female, but I think women would appreciate this book more because this book focus more on women than men It's different from other Greek stories that only protray male hero. It's quite an extraordinary book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    the three short stories in this book are wonderfully crafted. the concepts are easily related to while at the same time containing a trace of ancient greece. being a fan of greek mythology, i really enjoyed reading these stories. [i finished in a couple days!] all three women each have their own outlook on marriage, and all face very interesting obstacles. the only thing is i was hoping for more twists in the plot. too many happy endings kind of gets old after a while. these stories are targeted more for women, and is fairly easy to read. i would definitely recommend this book to somebody.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2005

    What A Book!!

    I read this book on the train. and I almost had a tear fall out of my eye. It was beautiful how in all three stories it was destiny that brought them together. It was or a rescue, or sacrafice, or a competition, but it brought the coulples together.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2003

    My all time favorite book

    I have read this book 3 times already, and everythime I fall in love with the characters, the plot line, everthing. I give this book 5 stars because it deserves ever single star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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