The Dark Wife is a retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth with Hades as a lady. It's a good, powerful lesbian romance told entirely from Persephone's point-of-view. The romance builds slowly, giving Persephone time to explore the Underworld and come into herself as a young woman rather than a girl.

This is also pretty much the first Greek myth retelling I've read that deals with the fact Zeus is a rapist. There's some very bleak things between him and Demeter, and some serious nastiness towards the end of the story where Persephone is forced to demonstrate she is an adult in her full power now.

Diemer does a good job with the gods and the mythical settings, especially with how unpleasant the Greek underworld is. There's some distinct differences from how it was shown in Alcestis, but we've got two different writers with two very different stories they were telling. I do kind of wish we'd gotten a chance to visit Tartarus, but I can well understand why we never did.

I really liked Hermes in this - there was something bright and slightly manic about him that I loved. Hades is absolutely lovely, and Charon was delightfully creepy. The choice of giving Persephone and Hades a mortal (dead) friend in the form of Pallas was excellent, since otherwise we'd have had Hades and Persephone wrapped up in each other the entire time Persephone was in the Underworld. We needed the chance to see Hades performing her duties, as well as seeing Persephone go out on her own in the Underworld.

Good book. It's self-published, so you won't find it in stores, but the link above takes you to a page where you can get e-book versions or order a dead tree version.

I would dearly like some sort of Greek myth retelling where Hera gets to be a sympathetic character, randomly. Not that she's not sympathetic in this story - she doesn't appear at all. Which makes sense, since this is a story about Persephone.


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Rebecca Hb.

December 2011

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