A spellbinding reimagining of the story of Elektra, one of Greek mythology’s most infamous heroines, from Jennifer Saint, the author of the beloved international bestseller, Ariadne.
Three women, tangled in an ancient curse.
When Clytemnestra marries Agamemnon, she ignores the insidious whispers about his family line, the House of Atreus. But when, on the eve of the Trojan War, Agamemnon betrays Clytemnestra in the most unimaginable way, she must confront the curse that has long ravaged their family.
In Troy, Princess Cassandra has the gift of prophecy, but carries a curse of her own: no one will ever believe what she sees. When she is shown what will happen to her beloved city when Agamemnon and his army arrives, she is powerless to stop the tragedy from unfolding.
Elektra, Clytemnestra and Agamemnon’s youngest daughter, wants only for her beloved father to return home from war. But can she escape her family’s bloody history, or is her destiny bound by violence, too?
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
Elektra by Jennifer Saint is the poignant and epic story of three women whose lives were irrevocably changed by Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae – Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra. This tale is based on Greek Mythology and touched my heart in profound, everlasting ways.
Initial Expectations (before I began reading):
I read Ariadne by Jennifer Saint, and I expect a similar tale. The previous story reminded me of a tragic Greek play. And it’s through my study of those plays I first learned about the characters in this story. I expect a tragic but beautiful story of three strong and courageous women for whom life dealt the worst hand.
Actual Reading Experience:
I immediately felt drawn into the story with its beautiful, lyrical prose that flowed through the many years that the story covers. This writing style makes the poignancy of this tragic tale all the more impactful and memorable. It’s a story that has touched me at my core with the relatable pain and heartache all three women experience through no fault of their own.
I love how the story stays very close to the Ancient Greek plays that introduced them and went on to add a depth that plays cannot convey in their written form. Cassandra’s story has always been one I related to, and I enjoyed reading her story just as I had imagined it but with that special touch that only Saint can add to it. A life of knowing what is to come and not having anyone believe you, especially in these war-torn, dangerous times, must have been incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking. Every nuance of these feelings can be found in this story, and I loved every word of it.
Elektra is told from multiple points of view – that of Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra. All three voices are unique and fitting for the characters. The transition is never once confusing, and the story is enriched by the three different takes on the events in the story. Saint’s telling allows the reader to sit in each of these three characters and feel what they feel. It is such a visceral experience and will not soon be forgotten.
The three main characters are all so fascinatingly developed that you can feel their pain as if it were your own.
Cassandra is one of my favorite Greek mythology characters, and all of her emotions are laid bare in this story. She is a princess of Troy and lives a life of knowing what is to come but not being able to convince people of that knowledge. Her frustration and depression over her reality come through painfully as her story unfolds.
Clytemnestra is the twin sister of the famed Helen of Troy, and she is the wife of Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae. The tragedy that befalls her at the hands of her husband forms and defines her and all of her choices.
Elektra is the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon and the titular character that the story starts and ends with. She is the least sympathetic of the three women, for me, but she has a lesson to learn that is as hard as it was for the other two women. She loved her father completely and believed what he believed. She is her father’s daughter in every way.
Reminds Me Of:
The Oresteia – a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus in the 5th century BC and The Trojan Women – a tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides
To Read or Not to Read:
If you enjoy a story that will pull you in and delight you with its beauty and poignancy, Elektra by Jennifer Saint is a book you will want to read this summer.