She was the original Cinderella…Doricha is twelve when her father is murdered by a roving band of Greeks. Betrayed by a jealous priestess and sold into slavery, headstrong Dori loses her most valuable possession-her freedom. She hopes that one day she can truly be free, but not even Aesop, her mentor, can protect her. The harsh world of classical Greece has little use for the minds of women, and she finds her body traded to another owner, who transports her to a new life of luxury and political turmoil in the faraway deserts of Egypt. All she has to do is be beautiful, all she has to do is love him, and she will be kept safe. The problem is, Dori doesn’t want to be kept–by any man. Not even the god-king Amasis, Pharaoh of Egypt.
From the ancient Thracian temple of the Bacchae to the exotic lands of Egypt where political intrigue coils like a nest of asps, Dori learns that fulfilling her father’s dying wish is not about bands around her wrists so much as it is bands around her heart. Based on persons and historical events of 26th dynasty Egypt, HETAERA fictionalizes the life of Doricha/Rhodopis–a most extraordinary woman who changed the world.
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About the Author
J.A. Coffey has been fascinated with mythos and legend for as long as she can remember. She grew up in the Dustbowl of the Midwest–hence her flights of fancy. Since then she’s lived in all parts of the country and traveled abroad. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and four large dogs.
J.A. holds a Bachelors Degree of Fine Art and a Masters Degree of Education in Educational Leadership. She tries to write through the lens of an artist. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found toiling in her gardens, restoring her historic home, or baking a batch of cupcakes in her kitchen. A 2014 Indie Book Awards Finalist and former RWA Golden Heart finalist in the “Best Manuscript with Romantic Elements” category, J.A. is currently working on her latest novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was provided a copy of this book through Goodreads’ READ IT AND REAP program in exchange for my fair and honest review. I thank the author for providing me with this opportunity. In Hetaera, we follow Doricha from her early days as a child in Thrace, through her years of slavery, to her rise to fame as Rhodopis, then finally, to the very throne of Egypt. I was engaged in the story from the outset, as Doricha witnesses her father’s death during an invasion of her village by the Greeks. Doricha is thereafter driven to follow her father’s last words and wishes for her: LIVE FREE! I will say at the outset that it was a pleasure to read a book that was so well done in the sense of proper grammar and punctuation and so forth. While there were a few—there were only a few such mistakes or editing errors. This made for a smooth and easy read. In this regard, I have just one “criticism” really and that was about those things intended to be italicized that showed in my e-copy as underlined. I also have a question about timing. When Doricha becomes a slave, the sense of the number of year that pass seems confused. . . . There were some very adult situations. But for those, I would have recommended Hetaera to my daughters. Even so, it seems these scenes were used to show the unique world that was ancient Greece and its surrounds and not necessarily for their “erotica-effect.” I appreciated Coffey’s word choices and word-pictures. She successfully brought me to each place, engaging my senses not just of sight, but also of sound, smell, taste and touch. Coffey successfully created full and interesting characters—including those whose presence was short lived: Doricha’s strong father; her persevering and sacrificing mother; the jealous and hateful Aidne; the concerned Meriko; the helpful, old Samothraki slave; and so forth. They were, each and all, believable. Having said that, while I felt sorry for Doricha through much of the story, I did not particularly like her. I cannot say why that was. She just didn’t pull at my heartstrings—notwithstanding her circumstances. Another main character that was very interesting was Aesop. I especially liked that he was included in the story—but again, I did not particularly like him. Well done, Coffey!
Hetaera by J.A. Coffey is a novel adapted from the story of Rhodopis, the first, and an ancient version of the Cinderalla story that was first recorded in the 1st century BCE by a Greek historian named Strabo. Doricha is a Greek slave girl in Egypt who suffers abuse by her fellow slaves. She is beautiful, but has big feet. It is her talent for dancing that catches the eye of a kindly elderly master. She falls in love with a young shoemaker who gifts her an exquisite, unique pair of red slippers before taking advantage of her. Then he suddenly disappears from her life, leaving Doricha devastated and heartbroken. The Pharaoh initiates a great feast for the kingdom, Doricha is prevented from attending by other slave girls. While at the river, a falcon snatches one of her red slippers, flies off with it, and drops it in Pharaoh’s lap miles away. Intrigued and believing it a sign of good fortune by an Egyptian God, he sets out to discover its owner. And of course, as the only woman with feet large enough to fit the slippers perfectly, Doricha rises from slave to the highest ranking woman in Egypt – the Pharaoh’s Great Royal wife. The Cinderalla fairy tale-ish background does not negatively impact the realistic feel of this novel. Well researched, with oodles of historical details, make this a believable tale. There is plenty to like in this story – unrequited love, horrendous abuse, great love, danger, and plenty of plot twists that kept me entertained to the end. Legendary personalities such as Aesop and Sappho play prominent roles in the novel. Vivid descriptions, memorable characters, and a poignant love story make this a fascinating novel to read. Highly recommended for those who love Ancient History and books about Egypt.
Lots of historical detail, relatable narrator, the original Cinderella story. A good read. REcommended.