Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nobody's Princess

Title:               Nobody’s Princess
Category:       Historical
Grade:            6-10
Author:          Esther Friesner
Publisher:       Random House
Date:               2007
Pages:             305

Even as a child, Helen of Troy is beautiful.  However, she is also headstrong and determined not to be left behind by her brothers in this lovely tale by Friesner.  When her sister Clytemnestra is forced into a marriage with the heir of Mykenae, Helen and her brothers insist on traveling with her.  Unfortunately, extricating themselves and returning to Sparta are far more difficult and Helen and her brothers must use both their athletic prowess and their political skills to escape, first to Calydon, then to Delphi where they encounter the famous Pythia.  When Helen’s brothers are offered the chance to sail after the Golden Fleece instead, Helen is left to her own devices to return safely home… or not.

Friesner makes an interesting choice to write this book as historical fiction instead of fantasy steeped in mythology.  Though Helen and her family worship the gods and refer to them often, the events in the story are written as though they could actually have taken place within the culture of the time.  The story is complex, and while interesting, not always action-packed, making it a slower read and best suited for somewhat older readers.  Helen, however, is just as independent and fearless as any modern reader could wish, and teens will enjoy her spunk and courage.  For readers who enjoy Greek mythology, or to ignite the spark of interest in it, this would be an excellent read.  


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