Tag Archives: Helen of Sparta

Mythology Lovers Unite: Read “By Helen’s Hand” from Amalia Carosella

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Review

I read Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella last year and loved it. You can see this review HERE, but today I wanted to share with you my review of the second in the series, By Helen’s Hand. Amalia is an elegant writer, with prose that drips description and feeling, and with this sophomore book in the series I could ascertain that her writing had grown even more. I found her first book excellent, but here her prose flowed smoother and her storytelling through word phrasing was much more fluid.

I already enjoy the subject matter. Anything written of ancient times of mythology or Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, etc. and I’m all over it. However, the writing still has to draw me in and not be dry and Amalia’s writing does just that…allows me to flow with it as a river current. By Helen’s Hand picks up where Helen of Sparta leaves off, so it would be enjoyable for a reader to check out both if they haven’t picked up the first one yet, but I suppose you wouldn’t really need to either. You could always go back and read the first as a prequel. We’ve read about the events leading to the Trojan War (well, those of us who enjoy reading on these topics, but at least we’ve all heard about it), but Amalia offers us an original perspective.We come to enjoy reading of the relationship between Helen and the whole other gamut of fully flushed characters you’ll remember from mythology.

Though it features the characters of mythology, this novel is more an intertwining interpretation of the intrigue and relationships, good and bad, between names you’ve heard of like Helen of Troy, Paris, Theseus, Odysseus, Menelaus.

Helen, the daughter of Zeus, has been brought back to Sparta by her family as this novel begins and Theseus (her love-King of Athens and son of Poseidon) is caught in the underworld. Amalia shows us Helen’s capability to make her destiny by defying those trying to make choices for her and trying to bring war on her people. Amalia focuses on Helen’s independence and her strong will to try to thwart those coming against her and her family. Everything in Amalia’s novel focuses on Helen and her relationships, even her inner self, more than the over arching mythology. The mythology is only the foundation to create a new tale in which we see Helen more clearly. They seem like real people now, not just mythical characters. As the plot unfolds we also meet Paris in this book and view the interesting love story flourishing between Helen and he. Paris is depicted much differently than the cowardly one generally remembered, instead as more of a determined and loyal man, as Amalia writes these flawed characters in a way that we gain understanding and compassion.

I was really enthusiastic about the ending as she featured a lesser known part of the myth which features Egypt. The Egyptology fanatic in me about peed my pants in loving this section. I won’t talk on it too much more as to not spoil the book. You can ultimately tell she highly researched books, sites, articles, and consulted with professional historians on the subject to collect information in order to piece together this veritable puzzle (one that ultimately has many holes and suspicions Homer never clarified). I really enjoyed how Amalia portrayed it and how she allowed us to see what could be fantasy as so very real.

Overall, this is definitely a book that you can become absorbed in and you should be able to remove a few hours of stress from your life by imagining the world of Helen and those that surround her. An epic series that rivals any other retelling out there, By Helen’s Hand is certainly captivating for fans of historical fiction, mythology, or historical romance.

I highly recommend both books in this series for historical readers who like to be swept away by an ancient tale. This is a Helen you won’t want to miss being emblazoned on your memory and an ending that you’ll never forget.

02_By Helen%27s HandBy Helen’s Hand (Helen of Sparta #2) by Amalia Carosella

Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback;

Genre: Historical Fiction

With divine beauty comes dangerous power.

Helen believed she could escape her destiny and save her people from utter destruction. After defying her family and betraying her intended husband, she found peace with her beloved Theseus, the king of Athens and son of Poseidon.

But peace did not last long. Cruelly separated from Theseus by the gods, and uncertain whether he will live or die, Helen is forced to return to Sparta. In order to avoid marriage to Menelaus, a powerful prince unhinged by desire, Helen assembles an array of suitors to compete for her hand. As the men circle like vultures, Helen dreams again of war—and of a strange prince, meant to steal her away. Every step she takes to protect herself and her people seems to bring destruction nearer. Without Theseus’s strength to support her, can Helen thwart the gods and stop her nightmare from coming to pass?

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Amalia Carosella, Biography

03_Amalia Carosella AuthorAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

You can also connect with Amalia on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter here and here.

Tour Schedule

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @AmaliaCarosella

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Helen of Sparta: A Unique Story of the Independent and Intelligent Nature of Helen Prior to Trojan War

02_Helen of Sparta CoverReview~

It seems I’m reading a lot of books with strong, independent women lately. Helen of Sparta, by Amalia Carosella, definitely also fits into that scenario. I’ve always loved myths and legends. Mythology intrigues me. The story of the Trojan War I’ve always found interesting, but I did know little of Helen, not much more than the fact that she’s used as a pawn in the story of the Trojan War and a daughter of Zeus. When I noticed that Amalia’s Helen of Sparta would create a side of Helen most of us haven’t seen, my interest was peaked further.

I was immediately ensnared by Amalia’s writing style. Her fluid and alluring sentences drew me into the story, as well as her representation of Helen’s personality. I knew at once that Helen, even as a young teen, didn’t want to conform, which is something I admire in real life people as well as fictional characters. Her descriptions vivid and rich, dripping off the page, even in small moments. “His expression blanked into a king’s mask, the warm blue eyes becoming the flat gray of a hurricane on the sea,” is an example of her descriptive elements which really hooked me into her story.

Mesmerizing and interesting, Helen of Sparta had elements of torment, human terror, loss and grief, love, struggle, and determination. Due to experiences in my own life, I felt my heart strings plucked for Helen in her unwanted marriage to Menelaus. I considered her a fighter, always seeking out ways to control her own destiny. I appreciated the love story between Helen and Theseus, son of Poseidon. I especially enjoyed both her main characters and found them movie worthy: admirable, beautiful, and resilient.

This book, though one that made me turn the pages due to her writing, isn’t a page turner in terms of action. I don’t want to mislead anyone about that. There aren’t fight scenes or battles or war. The gods weren’t appearing left and right in fierce bolts of lightening. In fact, this all takes place prior to the Trojan War. It’s more of a character-driven novel, where we spend time getting to know some of these mythical people who haven’t had much background speculated on them before.

The ending left us feeling that Helen’s story was just beginning. She wants to be admired for herself, not her beauty. She shows her intelligence. She finally found out her place and who she wanted to be, which for some can leave them feeling as if the story isn’t over, and that’s true, her story is just beginning, so hopefully Amalia is writing a second book.

Sometimes people love myths but don’t want to slog through some of them. Many people enjoy the tale, but don’t choose to read Homer for evening pleasure. Yet, they don’t want a YA novel either. So this is the reason that Helen of Sparta might be a choice for them. This is definitely not a YA novel, with graphic sex and violence (not overdone, just true to the story). It’s a novel for those who want an enjoyable and original read surrounding mythology, with romance and emotional and apt characterization, or a book with a bit of drama and a redemptive outlook. It was traumatic and riveting all at the same time.

She intertwined nicely common mythology with her unique outlook and storytelling to create a woman’s adventure and journey. A woman who is authentically flawed, but all the better for it. A better and more understood Helen of Troy.

If you love mythology, romance, and epic reads I think you’ll absolutely love this novel. I can tell prospective readers that though it had length to it, reading the book felt like a whirlwind to me. I’m anxious to read Amalia second book in what I hope is a series!

Helen of Sparta, Synopsis~

02_Helen of Sparta CoverPublication Date: April 1, 2015
Lake Union Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
ISBN-10: 1477821384

Genre: Historical Fiction

GoodReads

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Buy the Book~

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Author Amalia Carosella, Biography~

03_Amalia Carosella AuthorAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English.

An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods.

She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too).

For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

You can also connect with Amalia on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter here and here.

Giveaway~

To enter to win a $40 Amazon Gift Card, please complete the giveaway form below.

Helen of Sparta <——Click there to enter giveaway!

Giveaway Rules~

  • Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 22nd.
  • Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 23rd and notified via email.
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
  • Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/helenofspartablogtour/

Hashtags: #HelenofSpartaBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #Giveaway

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @AmaliaTd @AmaliaCarosella

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