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The Greek gods never actually existed. Did they? Sophie Darrow finds she was wrong about that assumption when she's pulled into the spirit realm, complete with an Underworld, on her first day at college. Adrian, the mysterious young man who brought her there, simply wants her to taste a pomegranate. Soon, though she returns to her regular life, her mind begins exploding with dreams and memories of ancient times; of a love between two Greeks named Persephone and Hades. But lethal danger has always surrounded the immortals, and now that she's tainted with the Underworld's magic, that danger is drawing closer to Sophie.
Night Owl Reviews Top Pick (Persephone's Orchard)
Long and Short Reviews Book of the Month (Persephone's Orchard)
|Publisher:||Central Avenue Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Molly Ringle's stories always include love and humor, as well as the occasional touch of tragedy and/or the paranormal. An award winning author, Molly lives in Seattle with her husband and kids and worships fragrances and chocolate.
Read an Excerpt
By Molly Ringle
Central Avenue Marketing Ltd.Copyright © 2013 Molly Ringle
All rights reserved.
Don't start crying, Sophie Darrow repeated to herself as she stared into the small, empty closet in her new dorm room. True, her parents and little brother had just driven away, heading back to Washington, leaving her here at Oregon State University for her first term of college. And yes, her boyfriend was beginning college in a different city and her best friend in an even farther city. So, indeed, Sophie was all alone now, alone to a degree she'd never experienced before; and she knew nobody here, and missed her family and friends so much it felt like a fresh wound in her chest. And meanwhile, of course, panic was rapidly overtaking her at the idea of facing life as a university student.
But surely the other freshmen in the dorm suffered the same problems, and they didn't sound like they were about to cry. They laughed and chatted out in the hall, just past her open door, unfolding their life stories to each other with glee as if this was the best vacation they'd ever taken.
What was wrong with her?
Sophie drew a deep breath, blinked three or four times, and knelt to unpack her shoes into the closet.
All she had to do was get her stuff moved in properly, make this little room feel like home. Then her spirits would recover.
As if this could ever be home, her lonely mind lamented. Home was the drafty farmhouse in Carnation, Washington, out on the highway, the family produce stand set up at the roadside. Home was her room on the second floor, a tattered and colorful oval rug on the uneven hardwood planks, her bed with extra comforters piled up against the chilly nights. Home was Liam, her little brother making a clattering racket on his skateboard in the cracked driveway. Home was sleepovers with Tabitha — now far away in Seattle — or, lately, cozy movie nights with Jacob. Home was Mom and Dad and the dogs, and not having to procure her own food and share a room with a girl she'd never met.
Kneeling on the floor, pulling the packing tape off a box of clothes, Sophie stopped and closed her eyes. Don't start crying.
At that point her father's words came back to her. Don't start crying. Start doing.
He said it whenever she threw a frustration fit about homework, or a fight with Liam, or someone bullying Tabitha or herself. "Do something to fix it, and if you can't, then do something else to make your life better. Tell you what, crying isn't going to fix it."
Sophie took another deep breath, in and out, and wiped her eyes. Line up the shoes. There. Already did something. Now, perhaps, to take a picture of how ridiculously tiny her closet was, and send it to Tabitha, who probably had a more glamorous dorm room, since she was at an arts college.
But as Sophie got out her phone, someone wandered into her room, babbling in a foreign language on a cell phone.
Sophie rose to her feet to stare at him, regarding him as both an intruder and a welcome distraction.
He lowered the phone beneath his chin long enough to tell her, in heavily accented words, "I am sorry. This phone, it is like crap. I get signal only here."
Then he was shouting into the phone again and gesticulating at his invisible acquaintance.
"No problem," Sophie said, though he couldn't have noticed, what with his tirade.
Her homesickness subsided a bit as she looked upon this new perspective. She couldn't imagine studying in an entirely different country, where they didn't even speak your native language. Poor guy.
She sat on her still-bare mattress, between a box of books and a stack of clothes on hangers, and studied him. His dark brown hair was thick and curly, fluffing out around his head to near-Afro levels. Sophie could do that to her hair if she wished — she had genuine African heritage on her dad's side. But this boy looked more Mediterranean. Maybe that was Italian he was speaking?
Sophie reached back to scratch her neck, and found her hair was escaping from its clip, tendrils sticking to her skin. The September weather here in Corvallis, Oregon, was turning out hotter and more humid than the university brochures had advertised, and the dorms lacked air conditioning. After carrying all those boxes up two flights of stairs, Sophie was sweaty and sticky.
The boy's tan skin gleamed at the temples with sweat too, as did the triangle of sparsely-haired chest above his shirt. He was tall and fit, with a perfect complexion, and possessed a certain beauty with that symmetrical face and thick hair. And a foreign accent was usually a plus. But those clothes — oh, honey, she thought, adopting her best friend Tabitha's favorite condescending phrase.
His shirt was striped purple and orange, and a white drawstring zigzagged up its V-neck. His red jeans clung like tights to his body. Golden leather sandals rounded out the ensemble. Seriously, golden, as if he had spray-painted them. Even Sophie didn't own any footwear so sparkly.
When the boy swung away from her, still arguing in Croatian or Russian or whatever it was, Sophie surreptitiously snapped a photo of him with her own cell. Setting the phone on her lap, she added a message for Tabitha.
Room just got invaded by this guy, shouting on cell in foreign language. Welcome to college.
She sent the text to Tabitha, up in Seattle, and thumbed through her other messages for a minute.
Her little brother Liam had just texted her, presumably from the car, Mom is txting some1, wtf?, which sent her stomach into an uneasy dip. She had her suspicions about their mom's leisure activities lately, and whom she might be texting.
Meanwhile, Sophie's boyfriend Jacob had told her: I miss you :(at which she sighed sadly.
A text bounced in from Tabitha, in response to the photo: Hi, the Eurotrash club called. They want their clothes back.
Sophie grinned, but felt bad for making fun of the nice clueless visitor. Just then, the guy told the other speaker something that sounded like "Okay" and some kind of goodbye, and switched off his phone. She set hers down too.
He pushed aside her box of books and sat with a sigh beside her, resting his head in both hands. He smelled like a thrift store, as if he had just today purchased that outfit at one.
Sophie waited for an explanation, and, getting none, asked, "So, what language was that?"
"Eh?" He lifted his face. "Oh, yes. Greek. I am Greek. You have heard of Arkadia?"
"Yes, is in Peloponnisos, in Greece."
"I am from there. Yes."
"How are things at home?"
Another big sigh. He cast a look of desolation at her window. The late afternoon sun lit up his pale green eyes. "Is difficult," he said. "My family and friends, there is problems always, between them. And my cousin, he wants me to find a girl for him."
"He wants you to find him a girl?"
"He looks for someone, a certain girl. Is my job now, somehow."
"Um. Yeah, that's difficult." Sophie decided she wasn't even going to ask.
He stuck out his hand. "I am Nikolaos. Hello."
She shook hands with him. "Sophie."
"Ah! Sophia. Is good name. Greek. Wisdom."
"Yep. That's right."
"You know. Of course. You are how old? Eighteen?"
"Ah, I as well. So you are freshman here too?"
She nodded. "Just moved in." Her gaze trailed along all the things she still had to unpack, and the tiny half of the room in which she had to fit them. Her roommate Melissa, a short, mousy, pale Oregon girl with brown corduroy shorts and white sneakers, had stuck around for about two minutes when Sophie and her entourage had arrived. Then Melissa had backed out of the room, flashing her student ID and claiming it was time to go use it to get dinner, and vanished. Apparently dinner took a while, as that was two hours ago. Sophie was alone.
Her mood sagged downward again as she recalled just how alone she was.
"So I am confused," Nikolaos said. "You can help me perhaps?"
Sophie lifted her head. "How?"
"You know where bookshop is? For the textbooks?"
"Yeah, I went there earlier. You go down the main street outside, and —"
"The street here?" He pointed in the wrong direction.
"No, right down there, by the parking lot."
"I go across a street?"
"Actually, you just go down the street, and ..."
He crinkled up his eyes, looking hopelessly lost. "It is not far? You can show me, yes?"
Sophie gave up. Getting out of the dorm room would be a relief anyway. "I can show you. Sure."
He beamed and jumped up from the bed with her. "Thank you. It is good. You are very helping."
Stuffing her cell phone in the pocket of her denim shorts, Sophie led Nikolaos into the dorm hallway and locked her door. She turned and headed for the stairwell. Nikolaos followed, bobbing beside her, grinning too widely at everyone who passed.
They trotted down the stairs and emerged into the breezeway between Sophie's dorm and the next. Warm air rolled over them, smelling of dry grass and a thousand burgers being cooked.
"I see you moving in with your family before," Nikolaos said. "There was tall boy with hat. He is your boyfriend?"
Jacob had bravely worn his new yellow and green University of Oregon cap onto the Oregon State University campus, earning him jeers from a car full of OSU football fans.
"Yes. He's going to U of O, down in Eugene." Forty miles away. Not so far, perhaps. But until now, she had always lived in the same town with him, and with everyone else she knew.
"He does not know how lucky boy he is." As they entered the shade of a huge redwood arching its branches over the sidewalk, Nikolaos threw his arm around Sophie's shoulders. "I make him jealous, yes?"
Uh-oh, she thought. She faked a laugh. "Probably shouldn't." She tried to push his arm off, but it wouldn't budge. The boy was stronger than he looked.
While she tried to decide the nicest way to say Hands off, dude, Nikolaos swung to face her, snaring her in both arms. "Hold on tight."
Her face went hot in protest. She tried to twist away, still failing. "I'm serious, I —" At that second the ground heaved beneath her. Losing her balance, she tumbled into the tall grass, in Nikolaos' arms.
An earthquake? No, it had only been one jolt, no rolling or rumbling. And tall grass? Where had that come from? They'd been walking along the dorm sidewalk, next to short hedges and cropped lawn and a few giant redwoods — all of which were now gone.
As she debated whether to worry about that later and stick her thumbs in his eyes now, Nikolaos pinned her to the lumpy ground, grinning. "That was easy. We must teach you to be less trusting."
His awkward Greek accent had nearly vanished, only a trace of it remaining. He now spoke a fluent and rather British English.
He'd been faking! Bastard. The self-defense moves they'd taught her in high school gym class came sweeping back to her on a wave of fury. She slammed her knee up between his legs, and shoved both hands at his face.
He grunted, and rolled off her, clambering to his feet. "Ow. Careful." She had definitely made contact — her knee and fists throbbed from it — but he didn't appear to be in any pain.
Whatever. Time to escape. She flipped onto her front and scrambled to get her feet beneath her, but found herself being lifted by Nikolaos, who caught her around the ribs and set her upright as if she were light as paper.
When she got a look around, she froze. Golden fields rippled in the late afternoon sun. Trees dotted the hills. The buildings and people were all gone. The normal campus sounds — music, laughter, cars — had vanished with them. Leaves rustled, birds twittered, and the wind whispered; that was all.
Panic washed through her. Had he slipped her a drug of some kind? How? No, she'd surely been knocked out just now, and this was a dream, or a coma. But it felt so real.
"Who are you?" Her voice shook; she couldn't control it. "Where is everyone?"
He still held her by the arm, casually but firmly. "You don't believe my name is Nikolaos? It's perfectly true, I promise."
She swallowed, gaze darting around the wild terrain, her mind scrambling to recall all the details leading up to this. "And you're Greek. Sure."
"I am Greek. Honestly, I'm insulted you doubt me."
Sophie shot him another look, and now noticed the mature shrewdness in his green eyes. "I guess you're not eighteen, either."
"All right, you've got me there."
She looked around again, seeking any sign of the campus. Nothing. Just nature, and a lot of it. Something that sounded like the trumpet of an elephant echoed from far off.
Nikolaos let go of her for a moment to tap something on his cell phone. She seized her chance and bolted across the meadow. Her feet hit unsteady lumps and dips of ground, but she made decent speed. Thank goodness she was wearing her jogging sneakers rather than impractical sandals.
"Bad idea," called Nikolaos from behind her.
She slowed to reach into her pocket for her cell, thinking now might be a good time to try 911. But the phone wasn't there. Crap. She suspected she'd dropped it in the meadow, and good luck finding it in this tall grass if she had. Forget it. Escaping was more important. She put on a burst of speed.
As she reached a large oak tree, a growl brought her skidding to a halt. From the grass a lion emerged, staring at her with amber eyes. It was a huge lion, as tall as Sophie even when down on its four giant paws, its shoulder muscles piled high behind its short ears. Its fur was browner than any lion's she had seen in a zoo, and its mane was shorter.
She'd been scared already, but now pure primal terror chilled her from head to feet.
Though she might indeed have just stepped through some kind of magic wardrobe, this was not Aslan she was dealing with. From the predatory gaze and the saliva dripping from those fangs (which looked at least six inches long), she was sure this animal regarded her as lunch.
Oh, please, let this be a dream or a coma, she prayed. Otherwise I'm about to die.
Were you supposed to climb a tree when faced with a lion, or run in a zigzag pattern, or punch it in the face, or what? She couldn't recall.
Then a young man and a medium-sized dog darted in between her and the lion. The guy had curly black hair, tamer than Nikolaos', and wore all black: untucked long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots with laces. She couldn't see his face yet; he was staring down the lion, as was his dog. The dog's hackles bristled beneath its golden fur.
"Off you go, mate," the guy told the lion.
As if to back him up, his dog growled, and barked.
The threat worked. The lion hissed, turned tail, and bounded away into the grass.
Sophie's knees shook as her adrenaline subsided, leaving her weak.
The young man turned around to look at her. "You okay?"
He was rather lovely. Probably a couple of years older than Sophie, with olive skin, shapely mouth, and large dark eyes with black lashes and brows.
She parted her lips, found she was too upset to answer, and merely nodded.
"Please don't run," he added. "We're not going to hurt you. But the lions won't give you that guarantee. It's not safe out here."
Sophie detected a different accent in the slant of his words, Australian perhaps. She answered with another nod, more guarded this time.
Footsteps rustled up behind her, and she spun about.
But it was only Nikolaos. "Told you running off was a bad idea. But now you've met ... Wat-son." He separated the syllables playfully, as if this wasn't the guy's real name.
Watson glared at Nikolaos. "Why are you dressed like that? What is wrong with you? Did you need to wear the most conspicuous clothes on the planet?"
"It worked, obviously," Nikolaos said. "So, I shall leave you two dears alone." He sauntered to Watson, and slipped something into his palm while murmuring a few words in a foreign language, maybe Greek again.
Watson nodded and tucked the item into his jeans pocket. His dog, meanwhile, sat and gazed calmly at each human in turn. It looked like a golden retriever crossbred with something darker, perhaps some kind of shepherd dog. It also looked gentle, not the type of animal who would rip out her throat upon command. She tried to take comfort in the gaze of the friendly dog.
The two men finished their discussion, and Nikolaos turned and executed a bow in Sophie's direction. "Sophia, it has been a pleasure. I hope we meet again soon."
She didn't dignify that with a response, only a cold gaze. Yeah, hope we meet again. Thanks for kidnapping me, you lying jerkwad.
Excerpted from Persephone's Orchard by Molly Ringle. Copyright © 2013 Molly Ringle. Excerpted by permission of Central Avenue Marketing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was lucky enough to be approached by the author to do a review for this book. Of course I was instantly interested given my love of all things mythology related. This was the most creative take on Hades and Persephone's story have ever read. I absolutely loved it. The reincarnation into new bodies was brilliant. We got to see an Underworld like we never have. Through Persephone's and Hade's memories we got to see and learn about the Underworld through them. There was so much to take in and the writing was done in such a way that I could picture it. The back and forth between now and past memories was done great. I didn't feel like the story stalled or flowed badly. I loved this story of Persephone and Hades and I never thought I would say that! Sophie is your average teenager who is going off to college and trying to adjust to being away from family and her boyfriend. She barley gets to college and things take a turn for the crazy. She is pulled into an alternate universe where she meets Adrian. Who tries pretty hard to convince her he isn't a stalker. Things for Sophie will never be the same after that. She is now plunged into a world of magic, love, and danger. Not everyone likes the idea of immortals being able to make more and alternate universes. Things get dangers for Sophie's life quickly changes from normal to not normal. She has to make important decisions that could potentially change her life forever. Will she be able to give up her family and her life for love? Will she ever be safe again? Hades is described as the hottest version of him I have ever heard. I am completely, 100% ok with this. He isn't evil like in other depictions of him. The world is set up so well that I felt like I really go to know him. All the description and past flashbacks were definitely needed to understand this version of the story. The romance was great. I didn't feel like it was rushed or forced. Very tactful. I loved Sophie and Adrian. They were amazing together. You will see why when you read the book! If you like Mythology at all you must read this book. It was one of the best mythology/romance books I have read. I would highly recommend it!
I loved this book! The reworking of the tale of Persephone and Hades is nothing short of magical and romantic. I would have never thought that they indeed could have loved each other contrary to the ancient myth of kidnapping and such. Although the story maynot be anciently accurate it is a great and worthy read nonetheless. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good love story and a little myth in their lives.
Loved the structure of this one with the main character rediscovering her past lives as we read along. I was surprised to find myself wanting to read more about the current time period, though...not sure why. I think it's because I really liked the main guy character and found him to be pretty charming in the beginning:)
I started this book this afternoon and couldn't wait until I got to the end. I could't put it down. So many twists and turns, and yet it was pretty consistent. It flowed pretty well, and I was rooting for the couple. I even teared up towards the end. I won't spoil it, but there is a death that will strike you. These days you come across villians that you sympathize with, but the cult in this book, you don't want to like, in fact you get on the verge of hating them. Hated the cliffhanger, but will definitely read the next one. Recommend this for an easy, afternoon read.
Sometimes I hate reading. Not because I actually hate it, but because I am such a glutton. If I am reading something both new and good, I can’t stop until it’s over. Literally. Even if it means staying up all night to finish and going through the next day in semi-coma. I try to pace myself and only read for a sane amount of time, but it doesn’t work. I either end up looking at the clock guiltily (3 in the morning? I’ll just read for another hour, then go to bed) or I attempt to go to bed and end up being unable to sleep because I. Just. Want. To. Keep. Reading. This is my long way of saying that I recently endured a bout of sleeplessness over a new book, Persephone’s Orchard by Molly Ringle. And it was good, which is why I looked at the clock every hour and promised myself “just one more hour,” until suddenly it was 6:30 in the morning and I had to stumble around like a zombie for a day. Oh well. At least I finished the book! Molly Ringle is always awesome but this book is my new favorite. It’s a sort of modern-day spin on Greek mythology, which could have been a bad thing but wasn’t. It nicely managed to avoid being sickening or contrived in the manner of other current books I could mention but won’t. Because I’m polite. I’ve always loved the Greek myths but one of my least favorites has always been that of Persephone and Hades. You probably already know the story, so I’m not going to rehash it. Suffice it to say, kidnap/rape stories are not really my kind of thing, so I was a bit dubious at reading a story where Hades is the hero. However, Persephone’s Orchard manages to re-tell the story that everyone probably knows in an entirely new way, and does it well (and without any rape! Huzzah!) Again, it had the potential to fail horribly by being too sappy about the love between Persephone and Hades, but the book manages to avoid that, too. It tells a familiar story from a new angle, and does it in a way that is actually believable. Hades is the hero of the story. Best of all, it doesn’t put Demeter in a bad light either, which seems almost impossible if you want to believe that Hades is the good guy. They are both good. The only bad thing about the book? It’s part of a series. I told you I was a glutton, right? I need the next book, now! Although, if I had the second book, I would have just kept on reading until my eyes incinerated, so it’s probably a good thing that I had to stop. Sometimes I love reading.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Sophie Darrow (A wonderful name), is an average college freshman, nervous about moving into her dorm and leaving her family and trying to decide what to do about her boyfriend who is away at a different college. She doesn't put much stock in stories about the ancient gods, who does? Imagine her surprise when she is kidnapped and whisked into the spirit realm her very first day at college! Soon she learns the secrets of the other realm and what really goes on with gods and goddesses, and that the danger that is stalking them is closing in on her too. I don't do it justice in that synopsis. It's a fantastic book! Detailed and lovingly crafted, Molly Ringle's story captured me from page one. I could imagine myself in the those places, watching the story unfold. I emphasized with Sophie and laughed at Niko's jokes and I fell in love with Adrian and his funny accent. It was one of the best books I have read in quite some time. I highly recommend it to all who like coming of age stories, and love stories and greek mythology. Read it! You won't regret it!
Persephone's Orchard, as you might have guessed, is a novel wrapped around the myth of Persephone and Hades. This is not a mere re-telling of the story though. No, Ms. Ringle sets out to re-imagine the myth. And I'm going to admit upfront that I'm quite fond of this re-imagining. What if Persephone and Hades were actually in love. I couldn't help but love Adrian Watts. He's lived a challenging life and has spent the last two years doing what he can to help others. But he's lonely and he's ready for his love to join him. Sophie took me some time to warm up to. She tends to make rash decisions on some things and she's stubborn when it comes to others. But, she did go to college thinking she's your average college freshman, only to learn she's anything but when she's drawn over to the spirit world and meets Adrian. While Persephone and Hades' story unfolds for Sophie, and she and Adrian begin their own, an evil force makes itself known attempting to keep these lovers apart. Ms. Ringle did a phenomenal job of writing a story that is very engaging. I was enthralled, wanting to know everything about Persephone and Hades. The writing flowed beautifully between Sophie's POV, Adrian's POV and the dream/memory sequences experienced by them both. I loved the use of reincarnation as a tool to continue bringing these two souls together in life after life. While I did get frustrated with Sophie at times, I felt Ms. Ringle deftly portrayed those qualities we see so strongly in Persephone and Hades still evident in Sophie and Adrian. I am particularly affected by Sophie and Adrian's desire to use the centuries' worth of knowledge they have to have a different outcome for the themselves this time around. Obviously, I'm captivated by this story. It's a unique take on an old myth and is beautifully told. I adored Ms. Ringle's imaginative use for pomegranate seeds and the obstacle an over-protective mother would pose to a couple in love. I also enjoyed the creative description of the spirit world and the Underworld. I will now have trouble envisioning the afterlife in any other way. And the supporting cast of gods and goddesses was spectacular. Ms. Ringle did a fine job of creating these characters in both the ancient times and the present. I'm holding out hope for Sophie and Adrian and am anxious for the next book!
I received an e-copy from Central Avenue Publishing in exchange for an honest review. With Persephone's Orchard Molly Ringle has breathed new life into Greek mythology and completely turned the story of Persephone and Hades as we know it on its head. And I loved every minute of it! The main characters, Sophie and Adrian, live in present time, with their story as Persephone and Hades told masterfully in a series of dreams and memories. Both the mortal and spirit worlds are so richly detailed it's like you've fallen directly into them and can reach out and touch both the past and present. Their romance develops over the course of the novel and it is so lovely to see souls reconnect with each throughout time. I was drawn to both Sophie and Adrian. Ade shows true perseverance with the tragedies that occurred in his mortal life and his determination to help the souls of the Underworld (both as Hades and his current incarnation). He's also very protective of Sophie. While he wants her by his side, the mysterious cult of Thanatos threatens them both at every turn causing him to doubt his decisions about her involvement. Sophie, initially unsure of the story Adrian tells her, let's her natural curiosity and then her memories lead her further into the dual realities and closer to Adrian. She's also not afraid to take a stand against Thanatos when she and Adrian are both threatened. As I watched the page numbers creep closer and closer to the end, I realized that there weren't enough left to finish the entire story. Sophie and Ade are left in a good place, so it's not a horrible cliff hanger, but I'm already dying for book 2 to learn what happens next with them. Not to mention to learn the rest of the story of Persephone and Hades.