Madeline Miller, "Circe" (Little, Brown and Company, 2018)


Circe is an immortal naiad, the daughter of the Sun God, Helios. Ignored or belittled by her divine kin because of her human-sounding voice, dull-colored hair, and quiet manner, she turns to her little brother for company, and then eventually, meets a human man who seems to offer her adoration. Yet her good will and nurturing are wasted on these relationships. Stung because the man she loves does not recognize her worth, Circe uses her newly found power of witchcraft to transform her romantic rival into a monster. This act has serious consequences; the new gods of Olympus are angered, and demand that her father punish her. She is exiled to the island of Aiaia. Alone at last, without the mockery of the gods, Circle develops inner resilience and wisdom, refining her plant lore, and finding companionship among the animals of the island. But Circe is immortal, and her island paradise will not remain undiscovered forever. Through the ages many mortals visit her; some seek to exploit her, and others appreciate her. Gods visit her island as well. Hermes becomes an occasional lover, and Athena, the goddess of wisdom, a frightening opponent. In her wonderful book Circe (Little, Brown and Company, 2018), Madeline Miller makes the ancient myths come alive with her vivid luscious writing style, and her sympathetic portrayal of the witch Circe, a peripheral character in the Odyssey.
Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the historical fantasy Falcon series and the upcoming epic fantasy, Girl of Fire. She blogs about travel and her books at You can also follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor.

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