Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I absolutely loved reading ‘Aphrodite’s Tears’ by Hannah Fielding and am very happy to share her guest post about the inspirations which helped her create this brilliant story. Read on to discover how she first became interested in Greek Myths and Legends as well as her favourites!
When I was a child, I had a book about Greek mythology, a compilation of the best stories. I remember it as well-thumbed, with a cracking spine, and falling open on certain stories I loved: Persephone and Hades, King Midas and the golden touch, Theseus and the Minotaur (although the Minotaur illustration would frighten me).
Since then, I have continued to read up on Greek mythology, devouring everything from original sources like Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey to the many retellings penned through the ages. These stories, full of wit and wisdom, with a god or goddess for everything, from love to war to wine-making, have lived in my imagination for so long, it is no wonder they inspired to write my novel Aphrodite’s Tears.
There are so many stories of Greek mythology, full of passion and intrigue; really, more complexity and drama than a soap opera! Here are three of my favourite stories, all of them, naturally, relating to romance, for that is what feeds my muse. Be warned, though: the stories of Greek mythology are often dark, so don’t expect happy-ever-afters…
Calypso and Odysseus: When the mortal hero Odysseus washed ashore on the island of the nymph Calypso, she fell in love with him. She enchanted him into staying with her, and stay he did – but only for seven years, before he left for his wife. I love the seductive aspect of this story, and the idea that they would live forever all alone on the island. In Aphrodite’s Tears, ‘Calypso’ is Damian’s pet name for Oriel.
Orpheus and Eurydice: Orpheus, son of the god Apollo and the muse Calliope, fell in love with a beautiful nymph named Eurydice. But on their wedding day, she was bitten by a snake and died. Grief-stricken, Orpheus travelled to the Underworld, and he played music on his harp and sang so poignantly of his love that Hades and Persephone said he could lead Eurydice back to the land of the living – only he must not look back as he walked to ensure she was following. But when he was almost at the surface, Orpheus could not help himself: he looked back, and Eurydice vanished, drawn back to the Underworld.
Aphrodite and Adonis: Aphrodite, goddess of love, fell in love with Adonis upon his birth. Adonis was motherless (a whole other story), and so Aphrodite entrusted him to Persephone, queen of the Underworld. But when Adonis grew into a man, Persephone would not give him up: she loved him too. The two goddesses fought over him, and Zeus stepped in: he decreed that Adonis would spend four months of the year with each of the goddesses, and the remaining months with whomever he chose. He chose Aphrodite. But then he was killed by a boar, sent by a god seeking revenge on Aphrodite, and he died in Aphrodite’s arms – at which point his spirit entered the Underworld, domain of Persephone. No wonder the Aphrodite of my novel is depicted crying! What she needs, to restore her faith, is a new story in which love wins out over darkness…
Thank you so much for this post, Hannah, and for the fantastic contemporary story ‘Aphrodite’s Tears’ which I also cannot recommend highly enough! Read my review for it here.
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