The World Beyond

Deanna Madden. Flying Dutchman Press, $10.99 (260p) ISBN 978-0-692-89773-7
Madden sets her transportive coming-of-age story in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. After high-spirited 15-year-old Rhea’s entire family dies of the plague, she moves in with her aunt and strict uncle. Only months after losing her family, Rhea finds out her uncle has arranged for her to be married to a cruel older man, and soon she finds out the reason: to pay off her uncle’s gambling debt. During an outing, Rhea finds a glimmer of hope when she becomes enamored with a handsome young athlete, all the while not realizing that Maron, a sculptor slave she has befriended, is in love with her. Rhea’s powerlessness regarding her upcoming marriage leads to schemes to get out of it, even begging the man she is to marry to release her. She goes to Pericles’s mistress for help, but Pericles has the plague and his mistress can’t intervene. Rhea quietly rebels, sneaking out of her uncle’s house and having lively, late-night adventures with a flute girl, her cousin, and Maron. Madden recreates the Age of Pericles with cunning, engaging characters and vivid descriptions of Athens, complete with its cultural mores and caste system. Historical sites—the Acropolis, open-air markets, temples of the gods and goddesses, the Long Walls—provide local color. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 09/18/2017
Release date: 07/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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