Penelope's Daughter

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Overview

The award-winning author of The Four Seasons retells The Odyssey from the point of view of Odysseus and Penelope's daughter.

With her father Odysseus gone for twenty years, Xanthe barricades herself in her royal chambers to escape the rapacious suitors who would abduct her to gain the throne. Xanthe turns to her loom to weave the adventures of her life, from her upbringing among servants and slaves, to the years spent in hiding with her ...

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Penelope's Daughter

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Overview

The award-winning author of The Four Seasons retells The Odyssey from the point of view of Odysseus and Penelope's daughter.

With her father Odysseus gone for twenty years, Xanthe barricades herself in her royal chambers to escape the rapacious suitors who would abduct her to gain the throne. Xanthe turns to her loom to weave the adventures of her life, from her upbringing among servants and slaves, to the years spent in hiding with her mother's cousin, Helen of Troy, to the passion of her sexual awakening in the arms of the man she loves.

And when a stranger dressed as a beggar appears at the palace, Xanthe wonders who will be the one to decide her future-a suitor she loathes, a brother she cannot respect, or a father who doesn't know she exists...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Iliad, The Odyssey, and other Greek myths inform and enrich Corona's (The Four Seasons) fanciful first-millennium tapestry of Xanthe, the daughter of Odysseus, king of the Cephallenians, born on the island of Ithaca to Penelope after Odysseus embarked on his mystical journey. With Penelope's legendary husband missing for more than 20 years, Xanthe must come of age sheltered from those who would usurp the kingdom, force her and her mother into marriage, and kill her brother, the heir to the kingdom. As a precaution, her mother fakes Xanthe's death and sends her to Sparta, where her cousin, the fabled Helen of Troy, can better protect her. There, Xanthe learns the mysteries of Bronze Age womanhood and witnesses an attempt on Helen's life, possibly made by her own daughter, the bitter Hermione. Xanthe becomes involved with the son of the king of Phylos, but the gods decide she should return to Ithaca while there's still hope that her father will return and peace may prevail. This variant and dreamy confection of Greek mythology and romance achieves, thanks to Xanthe's first-person account, a great deal of intimacy. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Born after her famous father, Odysseus, followed Menelaus to Troy to bring the city to its knees and Helen home to Sparta, Xanthe enjoyed an idyllic childhood. As the years passed, however, and Odysseus failed to return home to his kingdom of Ithaca, his wife, Penelope, was forced to endure an invasion of suitors hoping to win her hand and the kingdom. Still, Xanthe was not in personal danger until she reached age 11 and was deemed old enough to wed, by force if necessary. Sent to live with Penelope's cousin, Xanthe spends her youth in hiding. There is no mention of a daughter in Homer's epic poem, nor is there historical evidence that Odysseus and Penelope had a second child, but as the Greeks with whom Corona spoke during her extensive research said, "If it makes a good story, why not?" VERDICT Corona's second historical novel (The Four Seasons) is indeed a good story—well researched, filled with strong, fully developed female characters, and an insightful look at the secret lives of the women of ancient Greece during an era that was pretty much all about the men. Sure to attract readers of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent and Pilate's Wife by Antoinette May. [A British newspaper recently reported (bit.ly./cKLrlf) that Greek archaeologists may have found Odysseus's palace on the island of Ithaca.—Ed.]—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425236628
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 962,470
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurel Corona is a professor of humanities at San Diego City College and a longtime resident of Southern California. She is the author of The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice, along with numerous works of nonfiction.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    an entertaining ancient Greek thriller that focuses on a ruling dysfunctional family during a period of sedition

    On the Island of Ithaca, Penelope gives birth to a daughter Xanthe. Her child's father Odysseus has not met his offspring as he away on adventures for two decades. While the Cephallenians king is on his mystical journey, Xanthe is protected from the usurpers who want her brother the heir dead and her married to one of them, so they can rule.

    Penelope tries to keep her child safe by faking Xanthe's death and dispatching her to Sparta to live with her cousin, Helen of Troy. Under her legendary relative's protection, Xanthe observes an assassination attempt on her host that she believes was instigated by Helen's acrimonious daughter Hermione. Xanthe meets a prince she likes, but the gods end their relationship as she must go home to her loom in Ithaca to prepare for the return of her wandering father.

    This is an interesting perspective by someone who never met her father when his fame as an adventurer grew. Building off of Greek mythology, in particular Helen of Troy, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Penelope's daughter is an entertaining ancient Greek thriller that focuses on a ruling dysfunctional family during a period of sedition. Told by Xanthe through her weaves, fans will enjoy her account of about men lusting for power.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Proof it's good to mess with Homer!

    The story set up begins a little slow but picks up pace as the tale evolves. I believe this is due to the necessary background given early on and also, the age of the main character, Xanthe. The background given is of great consequence and enriches the reader's attachment and sympathy for the main character later in the story. I encourage readers to stick with it and enjoy the journey; after all, The Odyssey inspired Penelope's Daughter. The tale of Penelope's Daughter truly begins when Xanthe leaves for Sparta. The portrayal and female point of view, especially when it comes to this story, is exquisitely executed. It shows the vulnerability, fears, exploitations, but also the strength, wiles and cunning awareness that women possessed and used to survive. A wonderful depiction of beauty and strength with a feminist revolutionary edge, but not unrealistic for the time. There are some beautiful depictions of celebrations, especially those pertaining to womanhood. I believe the Goddesses would be pleased. Laurel Corona successfully messes with Homer's epic by bringing to light the bonds of women: their friendships, loyalty, fears, love, sexuality and the differences that separate them from men in the ancient world. This is a perspective rarely shown and it was superbly rendered and a pleasure to experience. Bravo!

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    Posted February 16, 2011

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    Posted May 13, 2011

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    Posted January 1, 2012

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